Sh500m for drought relief, says PM

January 25, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 25 – The government says it intends to spend at least half a billion shillings to mitigate the impact of the severe drought ravaging most parts of the country.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga said more than Sh490 million had been set aside for relief operation in areas worst hit by the drought where hundreds of livestock have succumbed to the effects of the La Nina related climatic conditions.

He announced that the Kenya Army and the National Youth Service (NYS) personnel were enlisted in the emergency relief operations to help in transporting humanitarian supplies to the affected areas.

The Premier made the revelation while launching the countrywide operations in Marsabit County during his two day fact-finding mission of the drought situation in Northern Kenya.

He said the government had finalised modalities to roll out a comprehensive relief programme for the drought stricken families to ensure that deaths related to hunger were averted.

He told pastoralists in affected areas that a special fund for resumption of the livestock off-take programme was allocated to cushion the farmers from incurring massive losses during the prolonged dry spell.

"The government through the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) will purchase weak livestock from farmers for slaughter so that pastoralists can get some returns," he said and added that the move is meant to cushion farmers.

Mr Odinga said the commission would buy the emaciated animals at a cost of between Sh10,000 and Sh12,000 before they are relocated to grazing fields for fattening until they regained the required weight for slaughter.

The Prime Minister further revealed that the government was planning to sink boreholes in order to improve the distribution of water supply in worst hit areas.

Already hundreds of thousands of families are reported to have started migrating from affected areas mainly in North Eastern parts of the country.

The premier who led a high powered delegation of government officials including five Cabinet Ministers and some 10 MPs distributed foodstuff to hundreds of needy families in North Horr, Sololo and Moyale towns when he toured the area on Monday.

He was accompanied by Cabinet Ministers James Orengo (Lands), Fred Gumo (Regional Development) and Otieno Kajwang (Immigration) among others.

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