State allocates Sh7b to mitigate floods as death toll rises to 76

Wild swimmers help people cross River Muuoni in Mbitini, Makueni County. [John Muia, Standard]

The government has reported a staggering rise in the flood death toll to 76 as El Nino rains continue to wreak havoc across the country.

An emergency Cabinet session, led by President William Ruto at State House, Nairobi, revealed that more than 36,000 households have been displaced by the rains.

To mitigate the effects of the floods, the government has reserved Sh7 billion to facilitate relief efforts to assist affected families.

"The funds were appropriated by Parliament under the Contingencies Fund as part of the FY2023/24 budget and Supplementary Appropriations No. I of FY 2023/24," reads a dispatch from the Cabinet.

These funds will be allocated for humanitarian responses, including medical supplies, food distribution, infrastructure restoration, and resettlement programs for displaced families.

Furthermore, additional measures endorsed by the Cabinet include scaled-up humanitarian assistance and a directive to the National Treasury to expedite additional disbursements to counties.

“Cabinet directed the National Treasury to release an additional Sh10 billion to county governments this week. To support county governments in addressing the disaster situations in their respective areas, the National Treasury last week disbursed Sh10 billion of their shareable revenue,” reads the Cabinet dispatch.

However, the Cabinet's position clashes with that of the Council of Governors over the Sh10 billion sent to counties to mitigate the effects of the El Nino rains.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua faced backlash last week after asserting that the national government had disbursed Sh 10 billion to aid flood mitigation efforts across the 47 counties.

However,  his claim was contradicted by the Council of Governors, which refuted the receipt of such funds.

The Cabinet has further directed the National Treasury to rationalise the budget and direct ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to commence the reallocation of funds in their budgets to support the emergency response being undertaken by the State.

The Cabinet noted that 38 of the 47 counties are within the alarm stage, characterised by flash floods, general flooding in low-lying plains, rivers bursting banks, landslides and mudslides, loss of livestock, and destruction of farmland and infrastructure. 

The Cabinet expressed concern over the affected regions, with particular emphasis on the North-Eastern, Coastal, Eastern, and Rift Valley regions, among others.