Tue, 16 Aug 2022

NAIROBI, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Wednesday launched a food assistance program to help drought-stricken citizens.

Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs, and Special Programmes told journalists in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that the initiative targets 89,000 families across 12 counties that are facing acute food insecurity.

"The food assistance will be provided for six months through both cash transfers and in-kind with beneficiary families set to receive 6,500 shillings (about 55 U.S. dollars) per month," Kobia said after Kenya and development partners held a consultative meeting on the drought situation in the arid and semi-arid counties.

According to government data, the number of people facing acute food insecurity is 4.1 million in 23 arid and semi-arid counties as a result of four successive failed rain seasons.

Kobia said that the weather outlook indicates that there will be generally depressed rainfall across all the arid and semi-arid counties during the October-December rainfall season due to La Nina hence the prospect of a fifth failed rain season.

"Consequently, the number of people in need of relief assistance could, therefore, rise to 4.35 million by December 2022," she added.

Kobia revealed that the government has scaled up its drought mitigation efforts and to date has spent approximately 105.8 million dollars on interventions which have been achieved through the support and collaboration with development partners, humanitarian agencies, and the private sector.

She observed that despite the interventions, the persistent drought has left the country with a resource gap of more than 126 million dollars for interventions required in critical sectors of food security, health, nutrition, water, agriculture, livestock, and education.

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