Dr William Ruto speaking to press after a meeting with Cabinet Secretaries and other Government officials

The Government has made available Sh2bn to manage and mitigate drought that has affected 865,000 people directly in 13 counties.

The funds will ensure adequate distribution of food and life-saving aid to needy populations, water trucking and complement first-line interventions by county governments.

During a meeting to review the drought situation, Harambee Annex,Deputy President William Ruto said the funds will be channelled through the Ministries of Devolution and Agriculture.

The funds are in addition to Sh12.4 billion set to be disbursed through the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection via cash transfers to 1.3 million vulnerable persons including the elderly.

“The Devolution Cabinet Secretary has already hit the road with intervention that government had in the budget so what we’re releasing this afternoon is additional resources to back up the kitty under the Devolution Ministry,” Ruto announced Monday.

“County Governments have ongoing mechanism of intervention and therefore National Government Ministries will proceed to support ongoing efforts without delay,” he directed after chairing a meeting attended by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture), and Simon Chelugui (Water) at Harambee House Annex.

The DP said the government had put measures in place to strengthen distribution of food in counties facing shortages assuring that the Kenya’s food security situation was stable.

Ruto said the drought situation in the country had been triggered by poor performance of short rains.

He however said an assessment by a multi-agency team comprising the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) had shown stress levels were significantly lower compared to previous years.

“There should be no cause for alarm at the moment. The government has put in place intervention to manage the current drought and we will work together with other humanitarian agencies to ensure there are no casualties,” the DP assured.

Ruto said the State Department for Livestock had guaranteed stable livestock conditions – a major means of livelihood in ASAL counties.

“The vegetation situation in the country, the body condition of livestock, and availability of food gives us a position on when the government should intervene, the first line of intervention being County Governments,” he said.

NDMA Chief Executive Officer James Oduor who attended the Harambee House Annex meeting denied reports of deaths as a result of starvation in Baringo and Turkana Counties saying a prior advisory had been issued to facilitate timely response by both levels of government.

“Yes, deaths have been reported. But the reports we’ve gotten from our multi-agency team on ground have not linked the reported deaths directly to drought. We’re not where we were in 2017. We’re not in an emergency,” Oduor stressed.

The Meteorological Department has already said the prevailing drought situation in ASAL counties is due to to a tropical cyclone that has reduced the accumulation of much-needed moisture for precipitation.

The agency’s Acting Director, Stella Aura, however said near-normal rainfall will be experienced in Western, Rift Valley, and Central parts of the country in the first week of April.

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