October 18th 2017

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Government to mitigate famine, warns of prolonged drought

“I am appealing to citizens to contact chiefs, MCAs and other government officials to ensure that we get information in time,” he said, adding, ”Anyone who is well off or is a government official found to be taking or selling relief food will be arrested and prosecuted”.

By Oscar NdundaThursday, 17 Nov 2016 17:17 EAT

The government has warned citizens to be prepared for a prolonged drought that will persist up to 2017 due to low rains being experienced and drying of surface water. Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe said early today that the national government has approved Sh5.4 billion to contain the drought in the country in which close to 1.5 million people are facing starvation. “The national government has approved a budget of Sh5.4 billion to address the drought situation which has left 1.5 million people facing starvation,” said Kirathie in a press briefing.

The government has categorised regions experiencing drought into three: emergency, alert and alarm. Mr Kiraithe pointed out that so far only Kilifi County falls in the emergency region with Garissa, Kwale, Lamu counties being categorized in alarm. Kajiado, Narok, Laikipia, Turkana, Makueni, Wajir, Tharaka Nithi counties and Meru North have been placed in alert. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation had received Sh1.5 billion to rehabilitate all boreholes in the drought-hit areas with Sh1.4 billion being allocated for relief food with the Sh115 million set aside for security measures. The European Union has also granted the government Sh1.5 billion for drought conducive plan with Sh713 million being allocated for rapid food supply to children under the age of 5 years.

Mr Kiraithe called on people to be getting in touch with the government officials like chiefs and MCAs to ensure that information reaches the national governments in time saying that there has been a challenge for the government to get information on areas that need relief food, whereas he put on notice people who are well off from taking relief food and pointed out that any government official found to be selling relief food would lose their jobs and face prosecution. “I am appealing to citizens to contact chiefs, MCAs and other government officials to ensure that we get information in time,” he said, adding, ”Anyone who is well off or is a government official found to be taking or selling relief food will be arrested and prosecuted”.

Mr Kiraithe further pointed out that the government has being conducting direct cash transfers to people in needy situations especially mothers in some areas to ensure that people who are well-off don’t receive funds. He also urged County governments of affected regions to continue with trucking whereby he called on the County Security Committees so that the drought situation is contained.

The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press





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