Thursday, 7 November 2013

Kenya raises alarm over drought

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto (right) test-drive one of the newly leased police vehicles at Uhuru Park on November 7, 2013.  Kenya has raised an alarm that more than 1.6 million people may require urgent food aid. Photo/ JEFF ANGOTE
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto (right) test-drive one of the newly leased police vehicles at Uhuru Park on November 7, 2013. Kenya has raised an alarm that more than 1.6 million people may require urgent food aid.


Kenya has raised an alarm that more than 1.6 million people may require urgent food aid.
This follows the alert by government that 20 counties face drought as short rains are expected to be depressed.
Deputy President William Ruto has now directed the Ministry of Devolution and National Planning to share information on drought with counties to help them prepare for any eventuality.
The short rains season which normally starts in October and end in December is already a month old, but the Kenya Meteorological Department has warned that there would be “depressed rainfall.”
“The distribution of the rainfall in time and space is expected to be generally poor over most places in the country,” reads part of a dispatch by the Weatherman on the season.
“This will mainly be driven by the cooling of the Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the western Equatorial Indian Ocean adjacent to the East African coastline, coupled with warmer than average SSTs in the eastern Equatorial Indian Ocean adjacent to Australia (also called negative Indian Ocean Dipole – IOD).”
On Thursday, Mr Ruto directed that the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning convenes a meeting of line ministries on Wednesday next week with governors from 23 counties considered to be in arid or semi-arid areas.
The ministries will include those of Agriculture, Environment and Health and governors from counties of Samburu, Turkana, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir and Isiolo among others are expected to attend.
MANAGING DROUGHT
According to a dispatch from the Deputy President’s office, the leaders would meet “to agree on a framework for management of drought in ASALs and food security in the country.”
On Thursday, Mr Ruto met with the Chairman of the Governor’s Council as well as Cabinet Secretaries of the line ministries charged with aid responses. Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi also attended.
The Deputy President was briefed on the status of drought, food security situation and required interventions to mitigate impacts of impending drought.
Mr Ruto also directed that the Ministry of Agriculture should come up with figures of amount of food required versus what farmers are expected to harvest “to guide planning for interventions.”
The decision follows earlier projections that expected grain harvest would be at least ten million tons less than required.
In 2011, Kenya suffered a severe drought in which more than ten million people needed urgent food aid. Most of them were assisted through the famous Kenyans4Kenya fundraising campaign.