By John Kariuki
The number of people facing acute food insecurity is 4.1 million up from 3.5 million in March 2022.
Based on the IPC Food Insecurity Phase Classification,3 counties are in Emergency, 8 counties are in Crisis, 12 counties are Stressed and 24 counties are yet to be assessed.
In light of this the Government in conjunction with development partners is looking into ways of addressing the drought situation in the Arid and Semi-Arid counties.
His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought a national disaster on September 8, 2021.
In a meeting with development Partners a brief status report on the drought situation and highlights of the long rains assessment report was adopted. 23 arid and semi-arid counties are experiencing drought as a result of 4 successive failed rain seasons.
The government of Kenya has scaled up its drought mitigation efforts and to date has spent approximately KES. 12.6 billion on interventions which have been achieved through the support and collaboration with development partners, humanitarian agencies, the private sector and other non-state actors. The interventions include:
Despite the interventions, the persistent drought has left the country with a resource gap of more than KES. 15 billion for interventions required in critical sectors of food security, health and nutrition, water, agriculture, livestock and education.
The weather outlook indicates that there will be generally depressed rainfall across all the Arid and Semi-Arid counties during the October-December 2022 rainfall season due to La Nina hence the prospect of a 5th failed rain season. Consequently, the number of people in need of relief assistance could, therefore, rise to 4.35 million by December 2022.
The meeting today underscored the urgent need for enhanced coordination and the scaling up more measures to address the needs of the 4.1 million people in the 23 Arid and Semi-Arid counties who are facing acute food insecurity.
As part of this continuing support, the government has launched Lisha Jamii an initiative established by the World Food Programme that will provide food assistance to 535,000 (89,000 families) across 12 counties that are facing acute food insecurity.
The targetted counties are Turkana, Samburu, Isiolo, Garissa, Tana River, Baringo, Mandera, Wajir, Kitui, Kilifi, Kwale and Marsabit. The food assistance will be provided for six months through both cash transfers and in-kind with beneficiary families set to receive KSh 6,500 per month.