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200,000 families affected by drought to benefit from cash transfer

NATIONAL
By Antony Gitonga | September 19th 2021
CS for Devolution Eugene Wamalwa (C) and senior governmentofficers hands over a Sh597.6m cheque to the management of Equity Bank towards supportingvulnerable families Hunger Safety Net Programme. The programme is targeting hundreds of families that havebeen affected by the ongoing drought in ten counties. [Antony Gitonga, Standard] 

Only 200,000 of the 2.3 million Kenyans affected by drought will benefit from the State cash transfer programme.

Each family will get Sh5,500 from the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP), which received Sh1 billion to mitigate the effects of drought between July and August this year.

The figure of the beneficiaries translates to 23 per cent of the total families that need the support.

Authorities noted that a significant number of families, though deserving, would be left out of the cash transfer programme.

The National Drought Management Authority (NMDA) revealed that the situation in the country has been worsened by poverty levels, which currently stands at 70 per cent in arid and semi-arid counties.

"The number of counties affected by the harsh weather conditions has also continued to rise, as measures are being put in place to help the affected people," NMDA noted.

In a press release to media on September 18, the agency noted that the arid and semi-arid counties were experiencing drought.

“Due to limited financial resources, the government and development partners can only reach up to about 23 per cent deserving households,” said the authority.

NMDA chairman Raphael Nzomo said despite the limited funds, over 200,000 families in four counties had benefited from the HSNP programme.

“These counties are Turkana, Wajir, Mandera and Marsabit, where the Government has been providing cash transfers to vulnerable households,” he said.

He added that the authority and the EU were undertaking other non-food interventions like water trucking, provision of livestock feeds and fuel subsidy to strategic boreholes in affected counties.

A herder takes water from a cattle dip in Moyale in Marsabit County where drought has adversely affected the pastoralist’s community due to failed rains. The government has placed Marsabit, Turkana and Mandera under the alarm stage due to the ravaging drought with fears of human deaths in the coming months. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has already declared the drought, which has ravished ten counties, a national disaster and announced plans to caution vulnerable families.

Speaking earlier during a meeting with County and Regional commissioners from affected counties, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa said that 2.1 million people were affected by the drought.

He said the poor rainfall had resulted in reduced forage and water for livestock and poor crop harvest, especially at the Coast and lower Eastern regions.

“The President has directed the Treasury and the Ministry of Interior to spearhead efforts to assist affected households through provision of water and relief food,” he said.

Wamalwa said the HSNP would continue to expand the number of beneficiaries in Marsabit, Turkana and Mandera, the hardest-hit counties.

“Malnutrition among children under the age of five in the affected counties is also on the rise, and we are working with partners to assist those affected,” he said.  

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