The prevailing drought across 23 arid and semi-arid counties could push the number of hunger-stricken Kenyans in need of relief food and water to 3.5 million, the government has said.
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, has prompted the government to distribute relief food alongside cash transfers to affected households to quickly mitigate the situation.
“A hybrid program of cash transfer and food distribution involving Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs) has been adopted to expedite access to relief for targeted recipients,” Matiang’i said.
His remarks followed a briefing meeting between the National Development Implementation Coordination and Communication Committee (NDICC) and Development Partners on the Government’s priority programs and other matters of mutual interest.
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.