Wajir governor wants President Ruto to declare drought a national disaster

Wajir Governor

Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi flagging off distribution of emergency relief food in Wajir County on February 13, 2023.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi has urged President William Ruto to declare the ongoing drought a national disaster to enable the government mobilise resources to assist the affected population.

The governor said the drought situation in the country is at an alarming stage with more than five million Kenyans, mostly from the north of the country, affected.

Mr Abdullahi, who also doubles up as Council of Governors (CoG) vice chairperson, said in Wajir County, the food security situation is classified as crisis phase three with more than 429, 300 people currently food insecure, translating to over 50 percent of the county’s population.

Consequently, he argued, the mobilisation of resources will enable the government as well as various stakeholders to assist affected households including water and relief food distribution as well as livestock uptake.

“Wajir County just like other parts of Northern Kenya is in need of food assistance and an estimated 15 percent of the population is already in emergency (IPC4),” said Mr Abdullahi.

“This why we are asking the President to formally declare the drought a national disaster and get every apparatus of government to prevent further loss of lives and livelihoods,” he said.

The governor was speaking while leading a relief food distribution exercise at the county headquarters.

The CoG vice chairperson said his administration has purchased assorted items including 42,000 bags of sifted maize flour, 7,367 cartons of vegetable cooking oil and 4,000 bags of beans from the national government in order to cushion food insecure households against the biting drought and related shocks.

He pointed out that the items will be distributed to the most vulnerable households targeted through community based targeting across the 30 wards in the six sub-counties.

On his part, Wajir Senator Mohamed Abbas called upon the national government to act with speed to help Kenyans who are now staring at a looming famine.

He supported calls to declare the ravaging drought a national disaster, saying that the “only thing now remaining is people to die”

The senator also asked the government to give school fees waivers for parents from the Arid and Aemi-Arid LAnds (ASALs) who have lost their livestock due to drought.

“We are asking the government to at least give a waiver for school fees because now kids are going to school and most of them will drop out because their parents have lost their livelihoods which is livestock,” said Mr Abass.