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Economy

Uhuru declares biting drought a national disaster

The drought has hit large parts of northern Kenya, Coast and Eastern. PHOTO | FILE
The drought has hit large parts of northern Kenya, Coast and Eastern. PHOTO | FILE 

The government has declared the ongoing drought affecting many parts of northern Kenya, Coast, Eastern regions and pockets of other areas in Kenya 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.

Mr Kenyatta also called on local and international partners to support the State’s efforts to contain the situation, which has not only affected human beings and livestock but also wildlife.

“Support from our partners would complement government's efforts in mitigating the effects of drought,” said the President on Friday.

Transparency

The President also issued a stern warning to all who are involved in food distribution that the government would take serious measures against those who would 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 Mr Kenyatta.

He said all purchases of food and other requirements would be done in a transparent and open manner and that all government agencies will be involved to guard against fraud.

“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.

Maize importation

To stabilise the high prices of cereals, the government will allow maize importation by the licensed millers but would strictly monitor the situation to ensure it is done in a transparent manner.

In its second phase of drought intervention covering the months of February to April, the government has allocated Sh11 billion to cater for intervention in various sectors.

Already, the Treasury has released the first tranche of Sh7.3 billion while the county governments have provided Sh2 billion.

The government says it intends to enhance interventions including doubling of food rations and cash transfers among other measures.

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