The government urgently needs Sh6 billion to stem the hunger ravaging parts of the country, the Devolution ministry says.
Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary Hussein Dhadho has asked Parliament to approve the allocation to address the emergency.
Mr Dhadho spoke while meeting the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee in Mombasa.
He said about 165,000 people in Tana River, Kilifi and Kwale counties have been affected. Of these 63,000 people are in Kilifi, 50,000 in Tana River and 45,000 in Kwale.
“The government has put in place mechanisms to send some money to poor people, orphans and the disabled to enable them help themselves instead of waiting for relief food,” Mr Dhadho said.
He blamed county governments for allowing the situation to get out of hand.
“County governments are supposed to be the first line of defence. Each county needs to have special funds on disaster mitigation during times of drought. Had they moved faster we wouldn’t have heard of such stories,” Mr Dhadho said.
National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman William Cheptumo urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare drought a national disaster.
Kilifi County devolution and disaster management chief officer Adan Mohamed said they had drafted a supplementary budget seeking an additional Sh50 million to tackle the situation.
“We have done food distribution worth more than Sh20 million to various parts of the county that have been hard hit by the drought. The exercise ended last week; but we have asked the assembly through the supplementary budget to allocate Sh50 million more to purchase food and other amenities for our people,” he said.
He said the devolved government is also implementing the cash transfer programme targeting the vulnerable and the elderly.
Under the programme, every vulnerable child or ageing person gets Sh2,000 per month.
“Our target is 50 beneficiaries per ward in the first phase of the exercise. We have so far assisted 1,300 beneficiaries against an initial target of 1,750,” he accounted.
He said they will convene a meeting with NGOs working in the county to ensure they do not duplicate the effort.
Kwale agriculture executive Joan Nyamasio said the county is yet to be affected.
“We carried out an assessment in January and forwarded it to the national food security sector in Nairobi for further deliberation. During our assessment we discovered that we still have pasture in some areas. We also have some water in some areas,” Ms Nyamasio said.
Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire called for urgent government intervention in some areas including Bamba, Vitengeni, Ganze and Jaribuni.
“As the government plans to bring relief food, there is need to consider digging large dams to start cottage irrigation schemes after the long rains, as a lasting solution to food insecurity,” Mr Mwambire said.