The Kenyan government has declared the ongoing drought that is affecting many parts of the country a national disaster.
President Uhuru Kenyatta made the declaration at State House, Nairobi, after a briefing by Cabinet Secretaries involved in drought management and food security.
He asked all local and international stakeholders to complement the government’s efforts by up-scaling drought mitigation programs across the country.
The President noted that the drought which was affecting 23 arid and semi-arid counties, as well as other areas in Kenya, has had a devastating effect on human beings, livestock and wildlife.
He said that the government would fast-track all programs to ensure the situation is properly contained.
President Kenyatta went on to warn all parties involved in food distribution that hope to take advantage of the drought to line their pockets.
”I will not tolerate anybody who tries to take advantage of this situation to misuse public funds. Let all investigative agencies, including the EACC, get involved in activities undertaken during this period. I don’t want the government to be accused of taking advantage of this situation.”
He further revealed that the government would allow the importation of maize by licensed millers to stabilize high prices.
The President’s national disaster declaration comes a few days after Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery called on the private sector to assist in efforts to mitigate drought effects that threaten the lives of more than 1.3 million Kenyans.
Nkaissery pleaded with governors to increase the KSh 1 million each county has promised to give because it was not enough.
The Kenyan Red Cross Society has also called out for help over the situation, appealing to Kenyans to help it raise KSh 1 billion to fight the issue.
Kenyan Red Cross Society Secretary General, Abbas Gullet said the donation would enable the humanitarian society move aid to all areas affected by the drought.
It singled out Marsabit to be the worst hit among all counties with others being Garissa, Isiolo, Mandera, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River and Lamu.