The Government has Friday (10/02/2017) declared the current drought affecting 23 arid and semi-arid counties and pockets of other areas a national disaster.
President Uhuru Kenyatta urged stakeholders to support the Government by upscaling drought mitigation programmes.
He also called on the local and international partners to assist the Government’s efforts to solve the stalemate which has not only affected human beings and livestock but also wild animals.
“Support from our partners would complement government’s efforts in mitigating the effects of drought,” said President Uhuru.
According to PSCU, the President warned all who are involved in food distribution that the government would take serious measures on those who would try take advantage of the situation to enrich themselves.
“I will not tolerate anybody who would try to take advantage of this situation to defraud public funds,” said Uhuru.
He directed that all purchases of food and other requirements should be done in a transparent and open manner and that all government agencies be involved to ensure Kenyans are not defrauded.
“Let all investigative agencies including the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission get involved in the activities being undertaken during this period. I don’t want the government to be accused of taking advantage of this situation.”
The number of Kenyans experiencing starvation in Kenya has risen from 1.3 million in August 2016 to 2.7 million following below average performance of the 2016 short rains.
According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), majority of those affected are the most vulnerable including the elderly, the sick, mothers and children under the age of five.
The numbers represent about 20 per cent of the population in pastoral areas and 18 per cent in marginal agricultural areas.
“The situation continues to deteriorate rapidly, particularly in nine arid counties namely: Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir and Baringo,” states the report by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group — a multi-sectoral and multiagency body that brings together relevant government sectors, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations under the leadership of the NDMA.
The report released earlier, notes drought affected counties that are neither arid nor semi-arid lands such as Elgeyo-Marakwet, Bomet, Kisumu, Busia, Kakamega, Homa Bay and parts of central Kenya.
The report adds that maize is a near total failure in Kilifi, Lamu and Tharaka-Nithi.
In addition, the production of beans, green grams and cowpeas is expected to be below normal.
The next major harvest from these regions is not expected until the end of February 2018, therefore, most households will depend on markets throughout 2017.
Maize prices are, therefore, expected to increase through 2017.