Speaking on Monday, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa says the government is yet to confirm a single death from the ongoing drought situation ravaging various parts of the country.
CS Wamalwa said he has visited Turkana — one of the most affected areas — adding that no fatalities have been confirmed in the said region or any other area he has toured.
“Kwa sasa hakuna kifo ambacho kimethibitishwa, ni ripoti tu… (There are no confirmed deaths yet. What we have are just unverified reports,” Wamalwa said, in an interview with NTV.
He, however, acknowledged that the hunger situation in some areas in the country is dire but maintained that the food available in the country’s grain reserve is enough to feed Kenyans facing hunger.
“Kufikia sasa kuna chakula cha kutosha humu nchini, kwenye magala yetu tuna magunia karibia millioni nne, kwa hivyo sasa ni kusambaza chakula hiki kifikie zile kaunti zina ukame… (For now we have enough food in the country, in our national silos we have about four million bags, all we have to do now is supply it to the drought hit counties.” he said.
The CS further indicated that county governments should be in the front line in dealing with drought by setting aside emergency funds to help mitigate such disasters.
“Kwanza ni serikali za kaunti ambazo zina jukumu la kutenga emergency fund ili wakati wanapolemewa ndio sisi kama serikali kuu tuweze kuwasaidia,” (It should be the county governments leading the fight against drought by setting aside emergency funds for such situations so that if their efforts fail then we as the national government can engage in helping them), he said.
Wamalwa warned that stern action will be taken against any person found guilty of any case involving the drought mitigation process, urging the county officers to make sure that the foods supplied get to those in need.
Approximately 1 million Kenyans are facing acute food shortage owing to the drought. Turkana is just one of the seven counties on red alert with observers classifying the situation as severe.
Five other counties also affected include, Mandera, Garissa, Baringo, Kilifi, Tana River, West Pokot, Marsabit, Makueni, Kajiado, Kwale and Isiolo.
The government says it intends to provide food assistance to the affected population, repair broken boreholes, delisting of water pans among other interventions.