The government on Saturday rolled out countrywide relief food distribution to the most vulnerable communities as the country continues to grapple with the effects of prolonged drought and consecutive failed rainy seasons that have put millions of lives at risk. President William Ruto kicked off the exercise at Nakalale in Turkana County before heading to Baragoi in Samburu.
At the same time, his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua, was in Kajiado County where he sent out an appeal to the public, private and international partners and humanitarian agencies to support the government in raising more than Ksh16 billion for emergency food relief response.
Speaking during the launch in Kajiado that targeted more than 300,000 residents of the county at Ilbisil Market, the Deputy President said the government requires some Ksh2 billion weekly to ensure no Kenyan dies of famine. He said the government has KSh4.9 billion for food over the next two weeks only.
“We appeal to the banks, private sector, international humanitarian organisations, and Kenyans of good will to assist us. It is wrong for fellow Kenyans to die of hunger when you have the means of saving them,” the Deputy President said.
DP Gachagua thanked international humanitarian agencies and the partners for their support so far. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP country representative Anthony Ngororano, France Ambassador Mr Arnaud Suquet, Ireland Ambassador Fionnuala Quinanm were in attendance. He also thanked the representatives of WFP, FAO, UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF, among others.
The Deputy President urged county governments to set aside funds to complement the national government efforts in responding to the food emergency. He assured Kenyans that the government will do all it takes so that no Kenyan dies of famine. In addition, he challenged the private sector and international development partners to support the government in sustainable solutions to climate change and improving food security going forward.
“We must come up with pragmatic solutions and roadmaps on food security in future. We must shift from rain-fed agriculture to irrigation,” DP Gachagua said.
During the launch more than 45 metric tonnes of food was distributed with at least 3,000 households receiving rice and beans as well as 100kgs of range cubes of livestock feeds. He directed that women, children, the youth and people living with disabilities be prioritised during the food distribution programs.