Herders assist a cow weakened by famine to stand in drought-hit Marsabit County in Kenya. East Africa faces a daunting task in mobilising resources to deal with climate change-related shocks. PHOTO | NICHOLAS KOMU | NMG

Kenya says it needs $140 million to fight worsening drought

The Kenyan government has said it will need Ksh17 billion ($140 million) between now and January to respond to the worsening drought situation in the country, estimated to affect 4.3 million people.

On Friday, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua launched the National Steering Committee on Drought Response, a special taskforce to drive a private-sector effort to mitigate the drought situation in the country in conjunction with the Kenya Red Cross. It will be composed of 15 members, mostly top executives from private and public firms and is led by Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.

President William Ruto had on Tuesday said the committee’s formation was necessitated by the need to institutionalise the framework for mobilising additional resources to address the worsening drought impacts.

Needs in the arid and semi-arid lands (Asals) of Kenya continue to rise as the region faces its fifth consecutive below-average rainy season. The government and humanitarian partners stepped up collective response to save lives and alleviate the suffering caused by the unprecedented drought, saying they urgently needed more funding to avert the worst-case scenario in 2023.

The United Nations, which too on Monday made an international appeal for $472.6 million to tackle the drought going into next year, estimates that more than 4.35 million Kenyans are going to bed hungry and about 5 million people cannot access enough water. It added that more than 10 percent of the country’s population — or 6.4 million people — will need humanitarian assistance due to the drought next year, especially in the Asals.

Little rain