Kenya needs Sh17 billion between now and January 2023 to mitigate the effects of the ongoing drought in the communities most affected. These funds will go to support livelihood projects, food security interventions as well as the sinking of new and rehabilitation of old water pans around the country.
Speaking on Monday during the launch of the Drought Response Plan by the Government of Kenya and the United Nations in Garissa County, Deputy President Righathi Gachagua said that the government continues to prioritize drought response around the country.
“A total of Ksh17.9 billion is required for immediate scale-up of drought response to cover the period up to January 2023,” DP Gachagua said.
In addition to this, he also said that the government will start allocating funds to set up a new drought kitty to aid in responding to perennial droughts as one of the long-term measures to battle the menace.
“The Government has started the process of funding the National Drought Emergency Fund (NDEF), which, once fully operational, will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the drought risk management system in Kenya by facilitating resilience building, preparedness, and timely response to drought during its different stages, to reduce and minimize the negative impacts of droughts,” the DP said.
DP Rigathi Gachagua also held roundtable talks with representatives from the National and County Governments, development partners, UN Agencies, and the Kenya Red Cross Society. The main objective of the talks was to develop better strategies to respond to droughts.
“Drought is here with us. It is no longer an emergency. We have to think deeply to get funds for our dams and find long-term solutions,” he urged.
He also promised to cut bureaucracy in the construction of dams saying that ideally, once funds are allocated, a project should not take long to start.
“There will be no bureaucracy and red tape in this government. There will be no project that will wait for over six months to start,” he said.
To date, both the national and county government have spent over Sh16billion in drought relief efforts.
Months into the drought appeal by the government, parts of the country, including the most affected arid and semi-arid regions are recently experiencing rainy spells from the delayed short rainy season.
The Deputy President said that even with this in mind, the Kenya Kwanza Government has maintained the need to move the country to more sustainable solutions to the problems of drought, food security, and, climate change that have been affecting ASAL areas for decades.
“All these problems are interrelated. The government wishes to urge communities in these regions to have a cultural shift and embrace sustainable agricultural practices such as planting short-term crops to take advantage of the ongoing rains,” he said, adding that communities should also look towards the quality of the livestock they keep instead of the quantity.
The National Drought Management Authority estimates that more than livestock have been lost, endangering millions of lives across the country.
He also said that some of the positive steps taken by communities during this delayed rainy season will take months to come to fruition and that more still needs to be done to make sure no lives are lost as a result of the drought.
“Resources in the NDEF kitty cannot be sufficient to address the challenges induced by climate change now and in the near future. Therefore, the Government is appealing for assistance to address the resource gap in implementing drought interventions to minimize losses before they reach catastrophic famine levels,” he said.
The Deputy President was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Alice Wahome (Water) and Rebecca Miano (EAC and ASALs). Also present were Governors Nathif Jama (Garissa) and Ahmed Abdullahi (Wajir). Also present were MPs including MP Farah Maalim (Dadaab) and area MP Abdikadir Mohammed.