10 BILLION RESPONSE TO DROUGHT STRICKEN COUNTIES IN KENYA
A total of ksh 10 billion to be given to drought striken counties in Kenya following the long period of no rains.
Kenya’s drought is said to be the worst in 40 years.
Atleast 4.5 million Kenyans are in dire need of relief food.
Animals have not been left behind.
An estimated 2.5 million livestock deaths, he said, have so far been reported in the drought-stricken counties due to lack of vegetation and water.
Twenty out of the 23 traditional Asal counties and 45 wards in nine additional counties in Rift valley, Mt Kenya and Lake Victoria region are affected.
In an attempt to address the situation, President William Ruto on Tuesday made an additional allocation of Sh2 billion to help in the drought situation.
He termed this drought as the ‘worst’ in four decades.
The government with support from the private sector plans to contribute an estimated 10 billion shillings to boost drought response in the affected counties.
The money will be spent towards purchase medical supplies for malnourished families, food for both animals and people and also addressing the country’s water challenges.
Agriculture and Livestock Development CS Mithika Linturi and his Water, Sanitation and Irrigation CS Alice Wahome on Tuesday outlined how the government plans to spend the Sh10 billion funds.
Linturi said the ministry is consulting with the Kenya Meat Commission to ensure all the drought-affected livestock are bought from the pastoralist to decrease their deaths.
He said the challenge they are currently facing is making pasture and water available for the animals.
“The immediate concern is how we give the pastoralists supplements, how we buy most of their cows so that they don’t die,” Linturi said.
The CS said the ministry will look into how funds can be increased for KMC to continue with the off-peak programme
Wahome said a long-lasting solution to eradicate poverty, the government will be increasing land allocated for irrigation.
This will increase agricultural productivity in those areas.
As a result, the government is targeting to increase irrigation land to 1.8 million acres from the current 350 acres.
“Our target within the next five years is to hit 1.8 million acres. If we get good support in terms of investors, the way we are marketing it, we could do up to 3 million acres,” Wahome said.
Part of the funds will be used to drill additional boreholes and rehabilitate existing ones.
“You can have a borehole in two days then provide temporary storage of water and there would be medication for children and people because they are weak,” Wahome said.
The CS said the government is targeting to rehabilitate existing ponds and have additional ponds.
“The digging or development of existing ponds is a job that can be done within a month or two weeks,” Wahome said.
Eleven counties under Asal are in the drought alarm phase.
These are Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo, Laikipia, Garissa, Tana River, Mandera, Wajir, Kitui and Kajiado.