The drought situation in the country is worsening by the day as four counties have been scaled up to ‘alarm stage’ due to the ongoing harsh weather.
According to the Ministry of Devolution, the number of families affected by the drought could double from 2 million in the coming months if the expected short rains in October failed.
This came as the State denied that anyone had died from the drought and pointed to Covid-19 as the main cause of deaths in the ten most affected counties by the drought.
According to CS for Devolution Eugene Wamalwa, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo and Garissa counties had now been placed under the ‘alarm stage’.
He said that the government had formed a multi-agency task force to support the affected families under the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) where each beneficiary would get Ksh 5,400.
“We have ten counties that have been adversely affected by the drought and of the number four have been scaled up to the alarm stage,” he said.
Wamalwa noted that in the four counties no death had so far been reported though some livestock had died even as the State moved in to assist the vulnerable families.
The CS was addressing the press in Lake Naivasha Resort where he met Regional and County commissioners from the ten affected counties.
During the meeting, the government issued a Ksh 597 million cheque to Equity Bank which would be used to support affected families in Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir and Mandera.
Addressing the press, Wamalwa noted that over 2 million people were currently affected by the drought with the State working with partners to support them through cash transfer and food.
“The President has already declared the drought as a disaster and we are appealing to parliament to fast track the disaster risk management bill into law to address the current situation,” he said.
He added that the government under the Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impact Project (KDRDIP) would release another Ksh 10B to counties hosting refugees.
“Under this project Garissa will get Ksh 4.2B, Turkana Ksh 3B and Wajir Ksh 2B as we are targeting counties that are hosting refugees and have been affected by the drought,” he said.
Equity Bank General Manager in charge of Special Projects Sarahlyn Wairimu assured that all families under the programme would get the cash starting from next week.
“We have been involved in the Hunger Safety Net Programme since 2009 and the beneficiaries in far-flung areas will get the cash through our agents,” she said.
On his part, Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata assured the CS that the rightful beneficiaries of the cash transfer would get their dues.
“We shall make sure that those affected by the ongoing drought get food relief or cash transfer from the government,” he said.