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Government declares drought a national disaster

The Government has declared the current drought affecting 23 arid and semi-arid counties and pockets of other areas a national disaster.

Speaking after being briefed on the situation on the ground by Cabinet Secretaries involved in drought management and food security at state House Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta called on all stakeholders to support the Government by upscaling drought mitigation programmes.

The President also called on the local and international partners to come in and support the Government’s efforts to contain the situation which has not only affected human being and livestock but also the wild animals.
“Support from our partners would complement Governments efforts in mitigating the effects of drought,” said the President.

He said the government would fast track and upscale its mitigation programmes to ensure the situation is properly contained. The President at the same time gave a stern warning to all who are involved in food distribution that the Government would take serious measures on those who would try take advantage of the situation to enrich themselves.

“I will not tolerate anybody who would try to take advantage of this situation to defraud public funds,” said President Kenyatta.

The President therefore, said all purchases of food and other requirements be done in a transparent and open manner and that all government agencies be involved to ensure Kenyans are not defrauded.
“Let all investigative agencies including the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission get involved in the activities being undertaken during this period. I don’t want the Government to be accused of taking advantage of this situation,” said the President.

To stabilise the high prices of cereals, the Government would allow maize importation by the licenced millers but would strictly monitor the situation to ensure it is done in a very transparent manner.
In its phase two of drought intervention covering the months of February to April, the Government has allocated 11 billion shillings to carter for intervention in various sectors.

Already National Treasury has release the first tranche of Ksh 7.3 billion while the county governments have provided Ksh 2 billion. The Government intends to enhance the interventions including doubling of food rations and cash transfers among other measures.

Present were Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich (Treasury), Willy Bett (Agriculture and Livestock), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Devolution), Phyllis Kandie (Ministry of East African Community (EAC), Labour and Social Protection), Eugene Wamalwa (Water and Irrigation) and Principal Secretaries Richard Lesiyampe, Susan Mochache, Fred Sigor and Conservation Secretary Gideon Gathaara among others.

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