Govt admits it has failed on drought

January 27, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 27 – The government has admitted that it failed to take early precaution to prevent the effects of the ongoing drought that has struck several parts of the country.

Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua said concerned sectors failed to plan in advance despite early warnings by the meteorological department of an expected La Nina season.

Speaking during his weekly press briefing, he however said they would take all the necessary precautions to ensure no one dies of hunger.

"Why can\’t we be like other countries that plan in advance even if it is six months earlier? Dr Mutua posed.

"It is clear that we in government have failed and we have embarrassed ourselves because we didn\’t have to wait until the last minute," he added.

He also put on notice people who steal relief food and said if caught they would face the full force of the law.

He said that they were aware it was already happening in parts of the country and the government would not allow it to continue.

"We will make sure they are prosecuted and locked up forever. You should not steal food meant for the starving, that greed and impunity will not be allowed at all and there will be no mercy for anybody who does that whether in government or otherwise," he stated.

The Kenya Red Cross Society, two weeks ago launched a Sh1.5billion appeal for drought response in cash, kind or services to support people affected by the drought which they estimate is affecting 1.8 million people.

The humanitarian organisation reported that water and pasture were the current immediate needs following which the Ministry of Water on Wednesday dispatched bowsers to affected areas.

The affected population is now said to be coping through livestock migration and voluntary livestock off -take.

According to the society\’s assessment reports, the drought was evolving in the Upper Eastern, North Rift, North Eastern, Coast region and Lower Eastern.

It has proposed short-term interventions which include rehabilitation of strategic boreholes to serve migrating animals and support peace initiatives to avoid conflicts.

The proposed long term interventions focus on mobilisation of communities to use local resources, appropriate sustainable solutions and appropriate technology water supply systems to mitigate the current drought situation and future trends.

The Kenya Meteorological department had in July last year predicted La Nina conditions and they are already being experienced in parts of the country following minimal rainfall conditions in the October-December short rains.

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