Drought response team raises Sh542m for hungry Kenyans

President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua receive a donation of Sh150 million from Co-operative Bank Group Chief Executive Gideon Muriuki towards the National Drought Response at State House, Nairobi. [PPS]

The National Steering Committee on Drought Response on Friday raised Sh542 million for Kenyans facing famine.

Private sector firms took the lead in the fundraising with Safaricom Chief Executive Peter Ndegwa, who heads the committee, noting that the funds will be used to purchase food for distribution and also do cash transfers.

President William Ruto commended various organisations for stepping forward to support the government's efforts towards confronting drought in the country.

"This is beyond patriotism; we are indebted to you," he said when he received the donations at State House, Nairobi on Friday.

Ruto said the government will put aside more resources to help Kenyans in need of food aid besides investing in agriculture to boost food production.

"To deal with climate change challenges we must have comprehensive short, medium and long-term plans," he added.

Safaricom gave Sh200 million as businesses dip into their profits to help alleviate the hunger crisis that has seen Kenyans in more than 23 countries go without food and livestock die from lack of pasture.

Co-operative Bank gave a donation of Sh150 million as the private sector heeded Ruto’s call for Kenyans to assist those affected by the ongoing drought.

KCB has committed Sh130 million to support the country’s drought response initiative while Equity Bank gave Sh100 million.

Also among the donors was East African Breweries which gave Sh30 million towards a humanitarian initiative by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers toward raising funds for food distribution to families facing starvation.

The drought, termed one of the worst in over 40 years, has hit counties such as Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kitui, Mandera, Marsabit, Laikipia, Samburu, Turkana and Wajir.

Over 4.35 million Kenyans in these counties are affected by the drought, among them an estimated 900,000 children and 120,000 pregnant and lactating mothers who require urgent nutritional support.

The government's initiative targets to raise billions to be used to support its programmes in the affected counties. 

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