Sunday, 06 November 2022 11:36

DROUGHT SITUATION WORSENS AS GOVERNMENT, DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS HOLD CONSULTATIVE MEETING ON RESPONSE COORDINATION

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The National and County Governments, and development partners on 7th October, 2022, held a consultative meeting chaired by Deputy President H.E. Rigathi Gachagua on the drought situation in the country. The forum was aimed at undertaking a status report on the drought in the 23 arid and semi-arid Counties as well as pockets in 9 other counties that are experiencing drought, coordinate response activities and identify priority areas for intervention.
The drought situation in Kenya, declared a national disaster on 8th September 2021, is the worst drought to have been experienced in most parts of the country in more than 40 years. According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) October 2022 Early warning report, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance is approximately 4.35 million with 942,000 cases of children aged 6-59 months acutely malnourished and 134,000 cases of pregnant or lactating women acutely malnourished and in need of treatment across the country.
Speaking during the meeting, the Deputy President reiterated the commitment of the National Government to ensure that all stakeholders come together to avert the loss of lives due to hunger in Kenya.
“As a Government, we will work with all of you to enhance food security and ensure that all Kenyans receive sufficient food as well as feeds for their animals,” added H.E. Rigathi Gachagua.
On his part, Council of Governors Vice Chair, H.E. Ahmed Abdullahi highlighted some of the priority response interventions to curb the effects of drought in Kenya.
“Other priority response interventions are: treatment for acute malnutrition; water trucking; livestock offtake and livestock feed; enhanced school meals programme and fees subsidies; support to the operationalization of boreholes; desilting of water reservoirs (water pans, earth dams); and support towards safe and peaceful access and migration,” said Governor Ahmed.
“As a Council, we make a clarion call to all stakeholders to support the drought intervention measures as guided by the key priority areas for a resilient and food secure nation,” he added.
Governors have committed to take leadership of County Steering Groups (CSGs), which remain the official drought response coordination structures at the County level. The National Government has, therefore, made arrangements with Governors and other stakeholders to fast-tracking food distribution to areas where it is needed most.
During the meeting, the Development Partners commended the Government of Kenya for their efforts in responding to the drought.
In his remarks, UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Stephen Jackson expressed solidarity with the Government and people of Kenya in coping with the devastating effects of drought.
“UN agencies are already providing support in various counties through food assistance, water trucking, and distribution of non-food items such as shelter materials, and hygiene kits. Additionally, we request the Government of Kenya to consider reopening the Kenya-Somalia border to allow the UN to upscale its humanitarian response,” he noted.
According to partners, cash transfer remains to be the most efficient method of fighting against the effects of drought. In this regard, the National Government, County Governments, and development partners have therefore begun a coordinated cash transfer programme coupled with emergency relief food assistance.
An intergovernmental coordination mechanism has been established and it was agreed that weekly updates on progress would be shared between and across various coordination levels.

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