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CoG says Kenyans affected by drought up by 400, 000 in last four months

A resident of Turkana. [File, Standard]

The number of people affected by drought has increased from 3.1 million in February to 3.5 million in June, CoG chair Martin Wambora says.

This is attributed to the poor performance of the 2021 short rains coupled with the previous two failed consecutive rain seasons and the late-onset of the 2022 long rains season.

This comes in the backdrop of FAO’s prediction that Kenya's drought response plan required a total of Sh9.4 billion for the period July to November this year.

In a press release, the council of governor’s chairman Martin Wambora said the drought had affected about 17 counties in the country.

“The number of people in need of assistance has increased from 3.1 million in February to 3.5 million. This situation will continue to worsen since there are no expected rains between now and November 2022,” Wambora stated.

“Eight counties: Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Samburu, Isiolo, Baringo, Turkana and Laikipia are in alarm drought phase. Nine other counties including Garissa, Kilifi, Kitui, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu, Meru (North), Nyeri (Kieni) and West Pokot are in the alert drought phase. The remaining five including Kajiado, Narok, Makueni, Taita Taveta, and Embu (Mbeere) are in the Normal drought phase. At the same time, one county, Tharaka Nithi, is in the recovery phase,”

He revealed this while decrying the delayed disbursement of additional county fundings, saying it could aggravate the ongoing drought situation in the country.

Wambora said if the funds are disbursed on time then it will go a long way in helping the fight against drought.

Through the funds, he argues the counties will provide food assistance to affected families, provision water in affected areas, mediate dialogues on resource use agreements, provide livestock feeds and supplements as well as offer treatment and vaccination of livestock against emerging diseases.

In April the government promised to continue disbursing cash transfer funds to vulnerable households in areas affected by drought.

Today each household is receiving Sh5, 400 a month. The emergency Relief Cash Transfer Programme started in December 2021. In the same month approximately 1, 127, 715 people were reached.

In February this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged emergency relief food for distribution in 23 ASAL counties, which has alleviated the suffering.

The government is also rehabilitating boreholes and providing water to people in areas affected by drought.