International development partners and the national government have launched a drought flash appeal that seeks to raise a total of Sh52.5 billion to enable the United Nations and Humanitarian partners in an effort to reach 3.8 million Kenyans affected by the ongoing drought.
The Kenya Drought Flash Appeal that was launched in Garissa on Monday called for increased funding to increase their emergency response in the arid and semi-arid areas in the country.
Long term solutions
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua who attended the event indicated the government is evaluating long-term solutions that will solve the drought menace in the country.
“Every time I visit Garissa, I understand that this is where real Kenyans stay. I ask all the governors in the arid and semi-arid areas to work with our ministers so that we can identify areas where we can build dams to provide water for our people to alleviate this suffering,” Mr Gachagua said.
UN Resident Coordinator Stephen Jackson in a roundtable meeting with government officials announced that the current rainy season being experienced in the country will end soon leaving several families in the ASAL counties vulnerable to drought.
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“The launch here is significant because this is where most people are bearing the effects of drought. The current short rains will disappear soon leaving many families to endure the suffering. We do not want to see young children dropping out of school because of drought. I urge all development partners to join us in this initiative,” he said.
The money raised will be used for cash transfers for the affected families as well as food assistance as the development partners seek long-term solutions to the drought situation.
According to Inger Jackson, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), Kenya needs to build resilience among communities to tackle climate change.
“We have just come from the COP27 in Egypt. The sad news is that drought and floods will not go away soon. It is the new normal and we must therefore learn how to cope with the effects of climate change. We need to mobilize resources to achieve this,” she said.
The Kenya Drought Flash Appeal was first launched by former President Uhuru Kenyatta in September last year in Wajir after Mr Kenyatta declared drought to be a national emergency.
During the launch, Mr Kenyatta appealed for Sh16 billion to assist 1.3 million people. Due to the poor performance of the short rains, the appeal was once again extended to March 2022. In April, it was once again extended calling for Sh21 billion.
The appeal also categorised the affected counties into 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) counties that include Garissa, Wajir, Turkana, and Baringo among others.
In the launch on Monday, Mr Gachagua indicated since the drought was declared a national disaster, the government has received Sh47 billion from the UN agencies and other private partners while the government has committed Sh12 billion. Sh5.6 billion of this has been spent on relief food distribution
The funds raised have been spent to provide emergency food assistance as well as the provision of cash transfers to the affected Kenyans in the 23 ASAL counties.
In Lagdera sub-county for instance where the launch happened, 11,460 people are receiving a cash transfer of Sh6,500 per month while 11,676 people are receiving food assistance. Nutritional centers that offer mass screening and treatment have also been opened in partnership with the county department of health.
Mr Gachagua indicated the government intends to offer a cash transfer of Sh2,700 per month to cushion them. Sh5.6 billion has also been spent on relief distribution exercises by the government.
The launch was attended by Cabinet Secretaries Alice Wahome ( WAter and Sanitation), Rebecca Miano (East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands, governors Nathif Jama (Garissa), Ahmed Abdullahi ( Wajir) and a number of elected leaders.