Thursday, June 8, 2023

Deputy President launches Drought Response Taskforce

Deputy President, Rigathi Gachagua, today commissioned the newly formed National Drought Response Steering Committee. President William Ruto announced the formation of the committee earlier this week to lead the efforts to mitigate the impact of the drought situation in the country.

The 15-member team will be chaired by Peter Ndegwa, CEO, of Safaricom PLC, and will report directly to the Deputy President.

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The team has been tasked to establish a private sector-led drought mitigation appeal fund under the auspices of the Kenya Red Cross and mobilize resources to supplement the Government’s drought response efforts.

“The President has established the Steering Committee to provide a framework for mobilization of additional resources following increased public interest in scaling up of drought response to meet the needs of fellow citizens affected by drought. This team’s efforts will, therefore, be only as good as our willingness to lend a helping hand. Now, more than ever, we need to rekindle our spirit of Harambee and be our brother’s and sister’s keepers”, Said the Deputy President

The committee will also oversee interventions to cushion affected populations from the effects of the ongoing drought and partner with the National and County Governments to strengthen the national capacity for resilient recovery to protect development gains from recurrent drought.

“ We remain cognisant of the urgent and immediate interventions needed to alleviate the suffering of those impacted by the current drought. Even as we discuss and implement these short-term measures, we are aware that there is a need to look at long-term interventions to mitigate the effects of the perennial droughts and climate change which has been blamed for the current situation. Climate action is integral to solving the recurrent droughts among other issues, and we believe the private sector has a critical role to play”, Said Mr Ndegwa

According to the latest report from the National Drought Management Authority, the drought situation continues to worsen in 21 of the 23 Arid and Semi-Arid counties. This has been attributed to the four failed consecutive rain seasons and the late-onset and poorly distributed 2022 short rain season. The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance currently stands at 4.35 million based on the 2022 long spots of rain food and nutritional security assessment report.

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