NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – The government says 1.5 million people are facing starvation across the country specifically in arid and semi-arid areas due to low rainfall.
Cabinet Secretary for Devolution Anne Waiguru explained that the National Government will be responsible for food relief and distribution in a bid to mitigate starvation.
In a joint statement with Governors of affected areas on Tuesday after the annual drought assessment in counties, Waiguru said the County Governments will be responsible for water distribution, veterinary and human health.
The assessment was carried out between July 21 and August 1 to evaluate the impact of this year’s long rains on food security.
“Only a few places in the Coast and Ukambani received 90-150 percent of the normal though with uneven distribution,” Waiguru stated.
“The assessment has forecast impending food crises in certain places including central parts of Turkana, Western parts of Marsabit, and some parts of Samburu, Mandera, Wajir, West Pokot and Baringo.”
Some of the areas affected are Mandera, Garissa, Taita Taveta, Tana River, parts of Laikipia and Meru North.
The assessment found that in most, “arid and semi-arid lands counties, the amount of rain was 50-60 percent of the norm, meaning that most places did not receive the expected amounts both in space and in time.”
Mandera County Governor Ali Roba on his part said following the discussions, all the set interventions towards addressing the situation will be set in motion at all levels.
The National Treasury has since allocated Sh1 billion to support the programme.
On August 8, Deputy President William Ruto said the government would do all it can to ensure no Kenyan dies from hunger.
“Sh1 billion has been released to the responsible ministry to ensure food is made available to the affected people. In fact, we have food worth Sh10 million for Samburu County,” he said.
Ruto however asked the county governments in arid and semi-arid areas of the country to invest heavily in irrigation, pointing out that provision of relief was not a lasting solution to famine.
He urged the county governments to invest heavily in irrigation in bid to realizing food security in their respective counties.