The World Food Programme (WFP) has initiated a Lisha Jamii initiative to provide food assistance to 535,000 (89,000 families) across twelve counties suffering from severe food insecurity.
The food support will be supplied for six months through both monetary transfers and in-kind with recipient families scheduled to receive Sh6,500 each month.
The counties include, Turkana, Samburu, Isiolo, Garissa, Tana River, Baringo, Mandera, Wajir, Kitui, Kilifi, Kwale, and Marsabit.
“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,” said Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia.
This comes after President Uhuru Kenyatta declared drought to be a national disaster on September 8, 2021.
Despite the initiatives, the country still lacks the resources needed to make the necessary changes in the vital areas of food security, health and nutrition, water, agriculture, livestock, and education, which together account for more than Sh15 billion of the country’s total resource shortage.
Other concerns brought up during a consultative meeting on the drought situation in the Arid and Semi-Arid counties include recommendations for urgently improving coordination and scaling up more initiatives to meet the requirements of the 4.1 million people in the 23 arid and semi-arid counties who are experiencing severe food insecurity.
The WFP has reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to ensuring that the situation is under control through Stephen Jackson, the UN’s Resident Coordinator, and has praised both the county and national governments for their efforts in battling the drought.
“We are going to cooperate with partners to reach out to more than 500,000 people…The situation is already outpacing us…If we lose the rains in October that would be the worst drought ever than anyone can remember in their lifetime…,” said Jackson.
He claims that despite efforts being made, the threat of the drought is advancing because the number of people experiencing a serious food scarcity has increased from 2.1 million to 4.35 million at the moment and is anticipated to sharply worsen if the rains fail.