Sh2bn drought re­lief for vic­tims, says Duale

‘Mil­i­tary, NYS and wa­ter ser­vice boards will mo­bilise re­sources and we will dis­patch at least 80 wa­ter bowsers to the coun­ties’

The Star (Kenya) - - News - JAMES MBAKA @onchir­im­baka

The state will spend up to Sh2 bil­lion to cush­ion 1.3 mil­lion Kenyans from the bit­ing drought, Na­tional Assem­bly ma­jor­ity leader Aden Duale has said. He told MPs on Wed­nes­day that the govern­ment will launch a large-scale in­ter­ven­tion pro­gramme next week.

“The mil­i­tary, NYS and wa­ter ser­vice boards will mo­bilise re­sources and we will have at least 80 wa­ter bowsers dis­patched to the af­fected coun­ties by next week,” Duale said.

MPs called for im­me­di­ate hu­man­i­tar­ian in­ter­ven­tion. They ad­journed House Busi­ness to de­bate the loom­ing cri­sis, which has left mil­lions star­ing at a slow and painful death from star­va­tion and de­hy­dra­tion.

They blamed the cri­sis on poor plan­ning by the na­tional and county gov­ern­ments, which they ac­cused of peren­nial knee-jerk re­ac­tions to des­per­ate sit­u­a­tions.

The state says Kil­ifi is the worsthit by the drought fol­lowed by Kwale, Tana River and Taita Taveta coun­ties at the Coast. Other coun­ties in­clude Garissa, Isi­olo, Ka­ji­ado, Ki­tui, Makueni, Man­dera, Marsabit, Pokot, Sam­buru, Turkana and Wa­jir.

Man­dera North MP Noor Mo­hammed, chair­man of the Agri­cul­ture com­mit­tee, said the sit­u­a­tion is dev­as­tat­ing and re­quires im­me­di­ate re­sponse.

“Re­sources have never been enough. The govern­ment should not wait un­til the sit­u­a­tion gets out of hand to de­clare it a na­tional dis­as­ter. It should rise up and mo­bilise re­sources,” he said.

Noor urged the two lev­els of govern­ment to launch a joint op­er­a­tion. “Let us have a process that is co­or­di­nated from one cen­tre rather than frag­mented ap­proaches by dif­fer­ent sec­tors,” he said.

Wa­jir wo­man rep­re­sen­ta­tive Fa­tuma Ibrahim said, “What we are do­ing is re­ac­tive in­ter­ven­tion in­stead of well-laid strate­gies to cush­ion farm­ers. Drought is a nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non, but we can mit­i­gate that.”

/HEZRON NJOROGE

Na­tional Assem­bly ma­jor­ity leader Aden Duale dur­ing a me­dia brief­ing at Par­lia­ment on March 31

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