CS Rebecca Miano: Sh1.2b used on relief food between December and January

Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for the East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development, Rebecca Miano. [File, Standard]

Regional Development Cabinet Secretary (CS) Rebecca Miano has said that the government used Sh1.2 billion to feed starving Kenyans between December 2022 and January 2023.

The minister said on Saturday, February 4 that 22 out of 23 counties in the arid and semi-arid areas were experiencing severe drought.

She attributed the drought situation to "five consecutive failed rainfall seasons since the October to December 2020 short rains".

"Since 2021, the government has spent more than Sh25 billion to cushion affected populations against starvation and other drought effects," she said in a press statement on Saturday.

She added that the money was spent on food aid, cash transfers and water and sanitation programmes.

"This week, the government allocated an additional Sh2 billion for the purchase and distribution of relief food and to scale up livestock off-take," said Miano.

"Between December 2022 and January 2023, the government has spent Sh1.2 billion on relief food distribution in 206 sub-counties," said the minister.

As criticism mounts on the government to engage in more drought mitigation programmes, Miano says: "the government is doing everything possible to ease the suffering of Kenyans affected by drought, albeit with meagre fiscal resources."

In November 2022, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said slightly more than four million Kenyans had been affected by drought.