Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua will convene the National Emergency Response Committee to deliberate on the country’s preparedness on the expected El Nino rains.
Mr Gachagua said Monday evening that the committee will establish strategies to mitigate possible devastation that may be caused by the anticipated heavy rain season.
“Next week I will be convening the National Emergency Response Committee that I head with all government agencies, development partners, the Red Cross, international organisations and all other stakeholders to discuss our preparedness for the expected El Nino rains,” said the Deputy President.
Speaking at a gala dinner in Nairobi organised by the Kenya Red Cross during the 10th International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society Pan African Conference Conference, Mr Gachagua called for cross-sector collaboration in preparing for any disaster that may be caused by the heavy rains.
He represented President William Ruto at the forum, where the participants were also celebrating over 150 years of experience of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society.
The Kenya Meteorological Department last week released a weather forecast warning that the heavy rains are expected this year from September to January 2024.
“Predictions indicate that we may experience El Nino rains between September and January 2024. We invite you to work with us on putting measures to mitigate possible tragedies,” said the Deputy President.
Some counties have already started taking proactive measures to ensure disaster preparedness.
Mr Gachagua added that the government is working on a public-private partnership in building water harvesting structures, including dams across the country.
This, he said, will help the government to take advantage of such large amounts of water for food production.
Some of the regions expected to be significantly affected by El Niño rains include Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Baringo, Uasin Gishu, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Kericho, Bungoma, Kakamega, Busia, Trans Nzoia, Vihiga, Laikipia, Nakuru, and Narok.
“I wish to thank the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society for the millions of lives they have touched over the years. We look forward to working closely in building sustainable societies beyond disasters,” said the Deputy President.
He further announced that the government is seeking to enhance its partnership with the Red Cross Society in strengthening the capacity of State agencies like the National Disaster Management Authority.
The move is intended to cultivate increased efficiency and effectiveness for better response.
At the same time, the Deputy President urged the fighting generals in Sudan and rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to lay down their arms and give dialogue a chance.
He said the armed conflict in Sudan has affected Kenyan exports such as tea.
“We are asking our brothers and sisters in the African continent to spare us in having to deal with disaster and emergency arising out of armed conflicts and the fight for leadership and scarce resources,” said Mr Gachagua.
“President Ruto is very keen on peace in South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, DRC and across the Horn of Africa because any insecurity and conflicts in a neighbouring country becomes a problem. That is why we have refugee camps in Daadab and Kakuma; it is a burden to this country,” he continued.
Asking the warring functions to dialogue, the Deputy President said the armed conflict in Sudan has negatively affected exports like tea and many Kenyans working in that country have returned home.
“We call upon our brothers in Sudan, the generals, to lay down arms and enter into a peaceful negotiation and find a peaceful solution to whatever problems they have. We do the same to DRC where we have had to send our soldiers to help the people of DRC. We call upon all the armed combatants to give peace and dialogue a chance for the sake of citizens and for the sake of peace,” he said.