Kenya’s drought mitigation measures got a major boost after the Government of Japan, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) donated brand new high-capacity water trucks worth Ksh. 26 million.
This follows last year’s request by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) to JICA to support the country’s capacity to respond effectively to the water needs of communities affected by drought.
East African Community, the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) & Regional Development CS Rebecca Miano has termed the donation a significant addition to NDMA’s water response fleet of trucks and a welcome boost to the country’s drought response capacity.
“Access to safe and sufficient water is a big challenge in our arid and semi-arid regions, especially when drought strikes. Water trucking becomes the option of choice to fall back on when droughts happen,” noted CS Miano when she flagged off the water trucks in Nairobi Friday.
“The water trucks will serve some of the counties that suffer the severest water stress during droughts.”
She was accompanied by Masaya Nishimura, Secretary of Embassy of Japan to Kenya and Senior Representative, JICA (Kenya), Mari Kato, among other officials.
Following the donation, CS Miano disclosed that two axes that require enhanced water trucking capacity have already been identified.
The first includes Tana River, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera counties while the second covers Baringo, Samburu, Laikipia, Isiolo and Marsabit.
“For ease of access in each of the identified axis, one truck will be stationed in Garissa while the other will be stationed in Marsabit County, and both will remain available to support the other counties on need basis,” remarked the CS.
That notwithstanding, she is of the view that drought response interventions such as water trucking are in themselves expensive and unsustainable.
To that end, she indicated that the government is keen on investing in long-term resilience building interventions that progressively increase the capacity of communities to cope with drought.
“Among our immediate priorities are high-impact multipurpose water projects in the ASALs. These will significantly reduce drought risk while presenting new opportunities for diversified livelihoods and expanded sources of income,” added CS Miano who underscored the need to forge strategic partnerships to make the dream come true.
She called for support from JICA particularly in natural resource mapping and planning in that regard, an area in which Japan holds unrivalled expertise.
CS Miano further lauded the Government of Japan, through the UNDP, for supporting initiatives aimed at mitigating the impacts of drought and climate change in Kenya.