Economy

Uhuru declares drought national disaster

drought

A herds boy walks on a dry dam at Lerata area in Samburu East on July 15, 2021. The National Drought Management Authority projected a drought was likely to hit the country from August to December. PHOTO | CHEBOITE KIGEN | NMG

President Uhuru Kenyatta has declared the ongoing drought affecting the north of the country a national disaster.

The President had met leaders from the drought-stricken northern Kenya at State House Nairobi on Wednesday.

Among 85 leaders from the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) who met with Mr Kenyatta were five governors, Cabinet Secretaries, chief administrative secretaries, principal secretaries, MPs and senators.

“The President has instructed the National Treasury and the Ministry of Interior to spearhead government efforts to assist affected households including water and relief food distribution as well as livestock update,” Kanze Dena Mararo, the President’s spokesperson, said in a statement.

Appeal

Fafi MP Abdikhaim Osman, speaking to the Business Daily after the State House meeting, said the leaders appealed to Mr Kenyatta to avert the looming crisis.

 “The President also promised that Sh2 billion has been set aside to combat hunger and forestall a humanitarian disaster,” the Kanu MP told the Business Daily.

He added that the President 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.

Calls have been growing for an emergency response to support pastoralists and residents of northern Kenya counties staring at starvation.

The drought has also pushed hundreds of wildlife from their natural habitat into private farms searching for water and pasture.

Several counties have already appealed to the national government and other development partners for help