The National Steering Committee on Drought Response has raised Ksh592 million for Kenyans facing famine.
The Committee headed by Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said the funds will be used to purchase food for distribution and also do cash transfer.
President William Ruto commended various organisations for stepping forward to support the Government's efforts towards confronting drought in the country.
"This is beyond patriotism; we are indebted to you," he said.
The President said the Government will put more resources to help Kenyans in need of food aid besides investing in agriculture to boost food production.
"To deal with climate change challenges we must have comprehensive short, medium and long term plans," he added.
The committee briefed the President at State House, Friday morning, where they provided an update on the progress they have made as they unveiled the ‘Wakenya Tulindane’ campaign.
“We have adopted the name Wakenya Tulindane which we believe symbolises the essence of the campaign; to safeguard our people and our country from effects of drought through both short-term and long-term measures”, said Peter Ndegwa, Chairman, National Steering Committee on Drought Response
Among the institutions that have donated include Co-operative Bank who have contributed KES 150 million, Kenya Defense Forces (KES 130 million), Equity Bank (KES 120 million) and KCB (KES 100 million).
Other corporates that have boosted the kitty are Safaricom with a KES 50 million donation and Diamond Trust Bank (KES 20 million). Kenya China Economic and Trade Association and Dawoodi Bohri Community donated KES 10 million each while Middle East Bank gave KES 2 million shillings.
Earlier this week it was also announced that all Cabinet Secretaries will contribute one-month’s salary towards the fund while the committee members have agreed to donate their allowances and to seek partnerships with various service providers at no cost.
“Our immediate next step is to use the money received so far to purchase and distribute relief food as well as facilitate cash transfers. We look forward to the task ahead as we support our brothers and sisters impacted by drought and we appeal to Kenyans to donate any amount they can towards the appeal fund”, added Mr Ndegwa
Five sub-committees have also been formed to ensure transparent collection and disbursement of funds and to develop long term sustainable solutions against the perennial effects of drought.
The sub-committees include Finance and Governance, Communications and Awareness, Resource Mobilization, Procurement, Logistics and Operations and Sustainability. The sustainability team has been tasked with driving the medium term to long term solutions to tackle climate change effects on the country.
Those wishing to donate to the appeal fund can do so via M-PESA PayBill 880990 using their name as the account number or via the National Drought Mitigation Appeal Fund under KCB Bank, Riverside branch through account number 1305486137. The PayBill will also be available to Airtel Money and Telkom’s T-Kash subscribers.
The committee also agreed to look at alternative ways to address the current emergency situation with the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) stating that it costs up to KES 6,000 to feed a family for one month.
Ruto announced the formation of the committee to lead the efforts to mitigate the impact of the drought situation in the country.
According to NDMA, the drought situation continues to deteriorate in twenty-one (21) of the 23 ASAL counties. This is attributed to the four failed consecutive seasons and late onset and poorly distributed 2022 short rains season. The number of people in need of food assistance currently stands at 4.35 million currently.
14 counties namely; Laikipia, Marsabit, Garissa, Isiolo, Kilifi, Kwale, Samburu, Tana River, Tharaka Nithi, Turkana, Wajir, Kitui, Kajiado and Mandera are classified under Alarm drought phase, seven (7) counties including Embu, Narok, Taita Taveta, Makueni, Meru, Nyeri and Lamu are in the Alert drought phase. The remaining two (2) counties including Baringo and West Pokot are in Normal drought phase.
Acute malnutrition has also been noted across the counties with 942,000 cases of children aged 6-59 months acutely malnourished and 134,000 cases of pregnant or lactating women acutely malnourished and in need of treatment.