NAIROBI, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to allocate 38 million U.S. dollars to combat drought for the next three months, a senior official said Friday.
Eugene Wamalwa, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and the Arid and Semi Arid Lands, said in Nairobi that there are 3.4 million people in need of assistance although the number could reduce after the onset of the long rain season in March.
He said the bulk of the funding will go to food and cash transfers for the most vulnerable members of society.
Wamalwa noted that to find a lasting solution to the recurrent drought, the Kenyan government is investing in a water harvesting program to reduce dependence on rain-fed agriculture and promote irrigation-based agriculture.
"Our target is to capture at least a quarter of rainfall that flows through the rivers into the Indian Ocean so that farmers have an adequate supply of water for cultivation of crops," he added.
Wamalwa said that Kenya has been responding on a continuous basis since the earliest signs of drought were identified in July 2016.
The ministry said that during the phase one of the drought responses between November 2016 to January 2017, a total of 54 million dollars was released to support enhanced water access as well as a cash transfer program.
Wamalwa said that phase two and three of the response has so far cost the government 74 million dollars and 42 million dollars respectively.