The National Treasury will on Friday release Sh2 billion to mitigate the effects of a drought that has ravaged 10 counties in northern parts of the country.
Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the money will be wired to the Ministry of Devolution, which will be spearheading relief efforts in the affected areas.
“The money will be wired to the implementing departments in the Ministry of Devolution,” Yatani told journalists at a press conference in Nairobi on Thursday.
The CS assured that adequate resources will be mobilized and trucks from the Kenya Defence Force will be mobilized to ensure water is available for affected communities and livestock.
The move comes barely a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the ongoing drought in the north of the country a national disaster.
The President made the declaration after meeting leaders from Arid and Semi-Arid areas at State House Nairobi on Wednesday.
They included governors, Cabinet Secretaries, chief administrative secretaries, principal secretaries, MPs and senators
The National Drought Management Authority has said at least 2 million Kenyans face starvation and warned that the dry spell could worsen in the coming months.
Eldas MP Adan Keynan assured families affected by the drought that they will get the needed intervention within the shortest time.
“You are aware the issue of rain. Rains have been minimal. Generally, the whole region is affected by the dry spell. There is need for water, need for food and pasture for livestock,” he said.
Other leaders at the press conference included Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda, Samburu Women Representative Maison Leshomo and Isiolo senator Fatuma Dullo.
Meanwhile, Kenya Red Cross Society reaffirmed its commitment to support efforts by both the National and County governments to mitigate this disaster.
“Since launching our interventions with our various partners, we have reached 95,664 people with both food distribution and direct cash transfers,” Kenya Red Cross secretary general Asha Mohammed said in a statement.
Mohammed said Kenya Red Cross plans to support most affected 500,000 people (100,000 households) with various interventions including food distribution, cash transfers, health, water and sanitation services.
Keynan said as leaders from ASAL region will continue with their unwavering support for the President and his administration.
“On behalf of the people of ASAL region and its leadership, we want to express our sincere gratitude to His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta for his prompt and favourable response, and pledge to work closely with the relevant government agencies responding to the drought,” he stated.
When declaring the drought a national disaster, Uhuru also pledged to assent to a Bill that seeks to unlock a formula for sharing billions of shillings stuck in the Equalisation Fund.
The Bill is currently at the Senate for input after the National Assembly approved it. Fourteen marginalised counties, the majority facing severe drought, will benefit from the Equalisation Fund.
Keynan further said ASAL leaders are grateful for Uhuru’s dedicated and inclusive leadership and spirit of nation-building which has opened up vast opportunities for socio-economic progress.
“In particular, we thank His Excellency for appointing people from ASAL region to influential national positions and for initiating major infrastructural development projects in northern Kenya.