File photo shows residents were waiting for the distribution of relief food at Bamba village in Kilifi County, Kenya in March 2019. The residents are facing an acute shortage of food and clean water due to prolonged drought in the area. (Xinhua/Allan Mutiso)
NAIROBI, June 11 (Xinhua) -- China has donated 11,835 tonnes of rice to Kenya's drought victims, a Chinese envoy said.
Wu Peng, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, told journalists in Nairobi on Monday that the first batch has already been distributed and is currently benefiting the drought-affected people.
"The shipment for the second batch of 1,500 tonnes will start by the end of this month," Wu said during the Handover Ceremony of the China-aided project of emergency humanitarian rice donation to Kenya.
Wu added that the Chinese embassy is working closely with the Kenyan government to ensure quick transportation and efficient distribution of the more batches to come.
He added that in 2017, the Chinese government announced a 22 million dollars worth of emergency humanitarian food aid to Kenya.
He noted that 21,366 tonnes of rice were shipped to Kenya within one year and has supported millions of drought-affected people.
"Now, I am very glad to see that the project is officially completed and handed over," the Chinese envoy said.
Wu said that China hopes and believes that all the emergency food assistance provided by the Chinese side will effectively alleviate the difficulties of Kenyan people and help the vulnerable rebuild their normal life.
He observed that China is one of Kenya's most important development partners and its assistance to Kenya will be closely aligned with the Big Four Agenda, especially the manufacturing industry.
He added that since Kenya gained independence in 1963, China has financed nearly 100 projects through grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, supporting the development of vast areas such as infrastructure, health, education, and agriculture.
The Chinese diplomat said that the two governments are also working together on the China-Africa Trainers College of Vocational Education, which aims at training teachers with vocational skills, thus cultivating the "seeds" for skill enhancement, job creation and income improvement for the local people.
"We look forward to the day that the seeds grow into big trees that nourish Kenya's national development and China-Kenya relations," he added.
Eugene Wamalwa, cabinet secretary of the ministry of devolution and arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) said that China has always stood with Kenya whenever it has faced challenges.
He noted that in 2016/2017 financial year, many Kenyans had been facing drought and China came to the aid of Kenya.
"The rice donation was timely; it came at the time when the country was faced with a prolonged drought which had put the lives of three million people on the verge of starvation."
"Distribution of the rice together with other quantities of relief food ensured that, no deaths were reported. The gesture of China is commended," he added.
He observed that Kenya faced drought in January due to the failure of the October to December rains in 2018.
"However we have been lucky in May as we have experienced some rain across the country that has brought some relief especially to the arid and semi arid counties," he added.
He observed that experts have indicated that the rains will come to an end at the beginning of July and so the country is expected to experience a biting drought not just in the arid areas but across the country.
"We want to thank China for the brotherly hand that has reached us in time to provide food to less fortunate Kenyans," he said.