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Kenya ready for El Nino, says Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. [Kibata Kihu,Standard]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has assured the country that the government is prepared to handle the oncoming El Nino rains.

The DP on Thursday, September 28 while meeting Cabinet Secretaries, Governors and other stakeholders said the government will deploy all the resources at its disposal, including the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and the National Youth Service (NYS), to assist counties in cleaning and unclogging drainage systems.

Gachagua also urged farmers to harvest and store their produce early to avoid post-harvest losses caused by the heavy rainfall. 

He said the government has put in place measures to ensure food security and mitigate the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

“Though as a country we have two levels of government, we all serve the same people of Kenya and the two levels of government are not in competition, they complement each other,” he said Gachagua during a meeting at his Karen residence in Nairobi.

The DP further called on Kenyans living in low-lying and flood-prone areas to move to higher grounds and to be proactive in reporting cases of emergency through officials and other channels that will be made public.

Gachagua was meeting with Cabinet Secretaries, Governors and disaster management agencies to compare notes and coordinate efforts for better response and mitigation in the event of emergencies. 

The meeting also included officials from the Kenya Meteorological Department, the National Drought Management Authority, humanitarian agencies like the Red Cross, international organisations and development partners.

“El Niño is beyond county governments and national government and our development partners and that is why we must work together by leveraging diverse capacities in technical and financial resources,” he said.

“One of the key components is sharing of information between our teams as gathered from early warning systems.”

He also appealed to Kenyans to use the El Niño opportunity to plant more trees and conserve the environment.

“There are health hazards at this time. The national government administration teams are ready to work with counties to prevent spillage or service run off,” he said.

The Ministry of Health has already formed Emergency Rapid Response Teams in anticipation of the predicted El Niño rains.

El Niño occurs on average every two to seven years, and episodes typically last nine to 12 months.

The phenomenon usually brings heavy rains to Kenya, as opposed to La Niña, which causes droughts.

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