Treasury to release Sh16bn for drought interventions

Devolution and Planning secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. PHOTO | FILE
Devolution and Planning secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. PHOTO | FILE 

The National Treasury is set to release Sh16 billion or an average of Sh3.2 billion per month between next month and July as it moves to cushion vulnerable communities from effects of drought.

In a joint inter-ministerial briefing on Thursday, Devolution and Planning secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said Sh9 billion will be made available between February and April while an additional Sh7 billion will be released between May and July.

The joint briefing by the Ministries of Devolution, Water, Treasury and Interior noted that the number of Kenyans affected by drought will rise from the current 1.5 million to two million in the coming days.

“The drought conditions in Kenya are worse now at the end of the short rains season than they were before the season began,” said Mr Kiunjuri.

He said the number of counties affected by drought has since risen from five in October last year to 11, adding that the livestock sector was particularly hit hard in northern Kenya.

“Cross-border migration of animals are limited at the moment because neighbouring counties are also affected,” he said.

The government released Sh5.4 billion in the first phase of this programme and the funds are running up to the end of this month. The ministry of Devolution has so far distributed food worth Sh824 million to the affected arid and semi-arid regions.

The ministry, with the support of European Union, has since 2016 to date released Sh190 million to 15 counties to support intervention gaps in livestock, education, water and health among other things.

The cost of food plays a big role in determining whether a family eats or not in the country.