The 15-member National Steering Committee on Drought Response has been launched by the Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. While launching the committee at Harambee House on Friday, Gachagua made a special appeal to all Kenyans and various stakeholders to rally behind efforts by the government aimed at cushioning those affected by severe drought. “We appeal to Kenyans of goodwill to contribute a percentage of their salaries to a Pay Bill Number we shall be publishing soon. Already, our men and women in the Kenya Defence Forces have offered to forego a day’s salary to contribute to the response kitty. The National Youth Service has also made their contribution,” pleaded the Deputy President. “We appeal to Kenyans in food-surplus counties to make their contributions through the office of the Governors and the County Commissioners. The Governors and County Commissioners will work with the Taskforce we have unveiled today and will coordinate the transfer of the foods to the Kenyans suffering in the 23 ASALs and pockets of 9 other counties,” he beseeched. Noting that there is urgent need for solidarity, Gachagua said regardless of next year’s rainfall performance, recovery from a drought of the current magnitude will take years, with extremely high humanitarian needs set to persist and even increase next year. On November 21, President William Ruto established the National Steering Committee on Drought Response which will, among other things, establish a private sector-led National Drought Mitigation Appeal Fund and mobilize resources to alleviate the impact of the drought ravaging parts of the country. The committee to be chaired by Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa is also expected to provide a framework for mobilization of additional resources following increased public interest in scaling up of drought response to meet the needs of Kenyans affected by drought. Several initiatives have already been launched including the Flash Appeal for $472.6 million to support 4.3 million drought-affected Kenyans in 23 ASAL counties out of an estimated 6.4 million people projected to require humanitarian assistance across the country.

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