NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – The United Nations and humanitarian partners have launched a Sh17 billion appeal to address the devastating consequences of drought on pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in the Northern part of the country.
The drought, which has been declared as a national disaster, has extensively affected 23 Counties following months of unreliable rains, which have caused thirst, hunger, decimating livestock among other effects.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya Siddharth` Chatterjee says the flash appeal is set to compliment the government’s ongoing nine-month response plan, which is currently facing a funding gap of Sh11 billion.
“Six Kenyan sub-counties have reported Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates above the 15 per cent global emergency threshold. More alarmingly, GAM rates in Turkana North, Marsabit and Mandera have exceeded 30 per cent-more than double the emergency threshold,” he pointed out while addressing journalists on Thursday.
“Conditions are likely to deteriorate if the next rainy season fails, as is currently predicted.”
He however said that the Government has made some positive effort towards alleviating the effects of the drought.
“The United Nations commends the Government of Kenya’s leadership in tackling the devastating effects of drought on some of the country’s most vulnerable communities,” he applauded.
The funds are set to provide life-saving food, health, water and sanitation services to 2.6 million vulnerable Kenyans over the next ten months, he said.
He further said a section of the money will be used to start projects that will serve as a lasting solution towards the drought problem that keeps on reoccurring in the country after several years, with major effects.
“It is not inevitable that drought should lead to food insecurity, malnutrition, disease and displacement. We know how to tackle both the cause and the consequences through early warning systems, immediate resource mobilisation, long-term resilience programming and coordinated action across all sectors,” he stated.
”We must act together now to avert further suffering.”
Ministry of Agriculture Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe has welcomed the move saying already the numbers of people affected by the drought has risen to 3 million and is likely to increase by another one million by next month if the rain fails.
He also attributed the current violence being witnessed in the North Rift part of the country to the ongoing drought.