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Help us deal with drought, Nkaissery tells private sector

Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery (left) with Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Abbas Gullet during the opening of Disaster Risk Management meeting in Nairobi on February 07 2017.The meeting aims at championing and building capacity in the management of disaster risk management activities in the country. {PHOTO: DAVID NJAAGA/STANDARD}

The Government has asked for help from the private sector to deal with drought and handle man-made and natural disasters.

Speaking during a Government-private sector engagement on disaster risk management in Nairobi, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said the state had developed a policy on reducing all disasters.

This comes at a time when the Catholic Church has asked the Government to declare the current drought a national disaster.

Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops chairman Philip Anyolo said despite aid being given to those affected, the situation had not improved.

"Even though the Kenyan government, Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) and other philanthropic groups have made varied interventions, these remain inadequate because the number affected is huge," he said during a press briefing at their offices in Nairobi yesterday.

Eldoret Bishop Cornelius Korir called on the Government to prioritise citizens' needs above politics.

"We are aware there is voter registration going on and shortly thereafter campaigns, but we are asking the Government not to forget the citizens of Kenya. Let us put the people first... because if we leave our people to die, who will then vote for them (leaders)?" he asked.

Mr Nkaissery also challenged governors to donate more funds for drought mitigation, saying the Sh1 million each county had pledged was insufficient.

This came as KRCS appealed to Kenyans to help raise Sh1 billion as part of efforts to reduce the effects of the drought.

KRCS and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a partnership on disaster mitigation. Kepsa CEO Carole Kariuki said the partnership would facilitate wealth creation.

"Disasters interrupt the continuous social and economic growth of a country. Human life is interrupted and the private sector is unable to create wealth and jobs," she said.

The joint initiative is expected to reduce the nation's vulnerability to catastrophes, establish a coordinated approach to disaster management and reduce disaster risk.