by Christine Lagat
NAIROBI, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Kenya intends to raise new funds from multilateral donors and local corporations to support humanitarian assistance for an estimated 3 million people affected by the current drought, officials said on Thursday.
Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua said the government was finalizing discussions with development partners, relief agencies and private sector lobby to explore modalities of replenishing a drought response kitty.
"Our assessment indicates the humanitarian crises linked to drought is dire and we have appealed to our development partners and private sector to help us bridge a funding shortfall for emergency food aid in the affected counties," said Kinyua.
He spoke to reporters after conclusion of a meeting between state agencies, bilateral donors and the private sector to explore innovative response to the biting drought in the country.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Feb. 10 declared drought a national disaster and made a fresh appeal to the international community to support provision of food, water and healthcare to affected communities.
Immediately after Kenyatta declared the current drought a national disaster, the UN pledged support for affected communities in 23 arid and semi arid counties.
Kinyua said that Kenya's bilateral partners including the U.S., China and the European Union have expressed willingness to support drought response initiatives in the country.
"Our development partners are ready to be part of the ongoing drought response measures which include food aid and cash transfers for the affected communities," said Kinyua.
"We are focusing not just on emergency assistance but also on how this country can be able to feed itself in the face of harsh climatic conditions," he said.
The government has allocated 110 million dollars to support drought resilience programs between February and April when the long rains are expected to ease food and water shortage.
Principal Secretary in the State Department of Agriculture, Richard Lesiyampe disclosed the EU and United States have pledged 10 million and 50 million dollars respectively to support drought mitigation efforts in the country.
He added that Denmark will provide 5 million dollars to support water trucking in drought hit counties while other bilateral partners will provide food rations to communities staring at starvation.
The Principal Secretary said the government will drill boreholes in seven counties hardest hit by drought and import staples from neighboring countries to reduce the intensity of hunger in the country.