- •The number of Kenyans in dire need of relief food due to the drought situation in the country stood at 2.5 million in January.
- Marsabit, Wajir, Moyale, Garissa, Turkana, Baringo, Samburu, Tana River and Isiolo among worst-hit counties.
The drought across 23 arid and semi-arid counties could push the number of hunger-stricken Kenyans in need of relief food and water.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said in a statement on Monday that the number currently stands at 3.1 million but this could rise to 3.5 million.
This is as the country continues to experience depressed rainfall during March-May long rains season, according to the Meteorological Department's weather outlook.
The prevailing situation, Matiang'i said, prompted the government to distribute relief food alongside cash transfers to affected households to quickly mitigate the situation.
“A hybrid programme of cash transfer and food distribution involving Mobile Network Operators and the National Government Administration Officers has been adopted," Matiang'i said.
"This will expedite access to relief for targeted recipients.”
His remarks followed a briefing between the National Development Implementation Coordination and Communication Committee and Development Partners on the government’s priority programmes.
The number of Kenyans in dire need of relief food due to the drought situation in the country stood at 2.5 million in January.
This means that in barely three months, worsening drought has pushed 600,000 more Kenyans to the jaws of hunger, and the number is projected to rise to one million people if the March-May short rains fail.
While releasing the statistics on January 24, Public Service CS Margaret Kobia said 13 counties were the most affected by the food shortage.
“We have counties like Marsabit, Wajir, Moyale, Garissa, Turkana, Baringo, Samburu, Tana River and Isiolo which have been worst hit by the drought," Kobia said.
She spoke after flagging off 340 tonnes of food supply from the Kuwait government which was meant to help 6,400 families in the 23 worst-hit counties.
The food items included rice, cooking oil, maize, sugar and flour.
Kobia said at that time that the government released Sh8.5 billion as an intervention to cushion vulnerable families via cash transfers under the Inua Jamii programme.