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Over 1 million Kenyans facing starvation

24 February 2015, 08:20

Nairobi - About 1.63 million Kenyans are facing starvation and will require immediate assistance over the next six months, a senior government official said on Monday.

Planning and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru told journalists in Nairobi that the government will spend about 33 million U.S. dollars to provide to the 1.63 million Kenyans facing acute drought especially in Arid and Semi Arid Areas (ASAL).

"The government will provide monthly relief food to the counties that are food insecure," Waiguru said, noting that government will use local government to distribute food to all the affected populations.

She said the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries will ensure that all the grain reserves stores in ASAL areas are stocked with maize.

"The government is also keen on the fundamentals of development for the region especially on modernizing the infrastructure, provision of water for human use, livestock and irrigation, human capital development, creation of more employment opportunities and enhancing security," she said.

Waiguru said a multi-agency assessment of the drought situation which was conducted between Jan. 26 and Feb. 6 in 23 ASAL counties found that further deterioration of the situation be cab contained by timely and effective response, particularly in the water, health and nutrition, livestock and security sectors.

Also read: Hundreds face starvation as drought hits Kwale County

She said there were varying degrees of drought stress in the ASAL counties but emergency conditions have not yet been reached largely due to the interventions from the government and other stakeholders.

Waiguru said the county governments will be expected to continue supplementing the national government's efforts in addressing the situation through water trucking, nutrition and public health services in their respective counties.

"There will be concerted efforts at both national and county level to ensure that the country is implementing comprehensive rain-water harvesting and storage approaches to ensure that we can become water secure," Waiguru said.

She said the government will also continue to provide food or cash to the 691,800 beneficiaries in the 13 targeted counties through the joint UN World Food Programme/government of Kenya Food/ Cash for Assets programme.

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