National drought response team raises Sh1 billion

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa (second right) distributes relief food to Esther Karissa (centre) at Mariakani in Kilifi County. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

The National Steering Committee on Drought Response has raised Sh1 billion to aid its efforts to save Kenyans from starvation and appealed to more funding from donors, saying the situation remains dire.

At the same, the committee said that in addition it distributing food to needy families, it has also prioritised the sinking of boreholes across the country with the support of Kenya Defence Forces to mitigate against the huge water shortage for humans and animals.

The committee chairman Peter Ndegwa said that more than six million people require urgent relief food aid, adding that 60 per cent of open water sources have dried up while the normal flow of permanent rivers has reduced by 40 per cent.

Ndegwa, who is also the Safaricom CEO, was speaking when he presided over the distribution of relief food to 1,500 residents of Mariakani in Kilifi County on Friday.  

Mr Kazani Chirunga, a disabled resident, ferried his ration that is meant to last one month on his wheelchair.

Ndegwa said the ongoing food distribution targets to benefit more than one million people across the country.

“The food distribution this week is focused in Kajiado, Samburu, Isiolo, Wajir, Mandera, Turkana, Kitui, Kilifi and Mandera counties. Over 320,000 people are set to receive food donations from the nine counties worth Sh150 million,” he said.

Kenya Red Cross Society acting Disaster Response Manager Venant Ndighila said over than 80,000 residents in Kilifi require urgent relief food intervention, adding that many children have dropped out of school.