Government declares current drought national disaster

Nairobi, May 30 , 2011

President Mwai Kibaki today met legislators from the North Eastern Province and Cabinet ministers from line ministries to deliberate and assess the current drought affecting various parts of the country.

During the meeting, at Harambee House, the persistent drought was declared a national disaster and the President directed that immediate interventions be put in place to cushion affected Kenyans and their livestock.

The Head of State further directed Treasury to prepare the necessary instruments of approval to facilitate urgent importation of maize to boost the current stocks being held at the nation's Strategic Grain Reserves.

The President said, "Immediate interventions must be instituted to protect Kenyans who are affected by the drought. The Government must expedite the process of availing foodstuffs and other vital supplies."

Legislators from the Northern Kenya, led by the Minister for Defence Yusuf Haji, appealed for the doubling of relief food being delivered to affected people terming the current ratios inadequate.

They called on the Government to avail more water bowsers in every constituency in the region to facilitate efficient transportation of water to reach residents and their livestock to locations they have moved in search of pasture.

The Ministry of Water and Irrigation will get additional funds amounting Shs 600m so as to effectively respond to current drought.

In order to cushion livestock farmers from the region and other parts of the country from incurring hefty loses the Government allocated Shs 1 billion to the Ministry of Livestock of which Shs 500m will be used for livestock off-take and the balance to be channeled through the Agricultural Finance Corporation.

The President directed all relevant ministries involved to expedite their operation and ensure that affected citizens were cushioned from needless suffering.

The Head of State further called on public servants to ensure that wananchi receive prompt attention and efficient, quality government services.

President Kibaki said cumbersome and lengthy procedures should be reformed in tandem with current realities witnessed in the modernizing world.

In attendance were the Cabinet Ministers Prof George Saitoti, Esther Murugi, Beth Mugo, Mohammed Elmi, Charity Ngilu, Otieno Kajwang, Mohammed Kuti, Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim, Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Amb Francis Muthaura, legislators from North Eastern and other senior Government officials.