Kenya’s drought appeal fund stuck at Sh600 million as famine ravages communities

The donations from corporates and well-wishers that are meant to tackle famine in Kenya have remained stagnant at about Sh600 million since the National Steering Committee on Drought Response was formed by President William Ruto.

On Thursday, the 15-member national steering committee reported they have so far raised Kes650 million. In late December, the team said they have “over Kes600 million” for the joint effort meant to support millions of Kenyans hurting due to the harsh effects of the ongoing drought.

In the latest effort to rally more corporates to heed the call for donations and support, the committee on Thursday received a boost after media companies came on board to help raise awareness about the famine affecting about 4.35 million Kenyans under the Wakenya Tulindane campaign.

“I am pleased to announce our partnership with the Media Owners Association because we not only need them to let Kenyans what is going on as we distribute food in the worst-hit counties, we also appreciate that as the ears and eyes on the ground, they likely know what is going on in different parts of the country.

“I foresee this as a healthy, collaborative partnership to make sure that all Kenyans are covered and no one sleeps hungry,” said Peter Ndegwa, Chairman, National Steering Committee on Drought Response.

Some of the institutions that have made donations include Co-op Bank which contributed Kes150 million, Kenya Defense Forces (Kes130 million), Equity Bank (Kes120 million), and KCB (Kes130 million).

Other corporates are Safaricom Kes50 million, Diamond Trust Bank (Kes20 million), Kenya China Economic and Trade Association, and Dawoodi Bohri Community which donated Kes10 million each while Middle East Bank gave Kes2 million.

In December, all Cabinet Secretaries agreed to channel one month’s salary towards the fund while the committee members agreed to donate their allowances and seek partnerships with various service providers at no cost.

Read also: Appeal for funds intensify to fight Kenya’s worst drought in a half-century

Entities wishing to donate to the appeal fund can do so via M-PESA PayBill 880990 using their name as the account number or via the National Drought Mitigation Appeal Fund under KCB Bank, Riverside branch, account number 1305486137. The PayBill is also available to Airtel Money and Telkom’s T-Kash subscribers.

The worst drought in Kenya in a half-century, which in part is due to the adverse effects of climate change, has been worsened by inadequate rains in four successive seasons even as projections show the long rains starting in March might also be subdued.

The funds raised by the team have so far been used to distribute food in Mandera, Kitui, Kilifi and Samburu and Meru counties.

Already, over 85,000 people from the five counties have received food donations courtesy of the taskforce interventions.

The Famine situation could get worse if the latest report from the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) is anything to go by.  Kilifi, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, Isiolo, Kitui and Kajiado counties are in the Alarm stage according to NDMA survey while Embu, Narok, Taita Taveta, Makueni, Meru, Nyeri, and Lamu counties are in the Alert stage of drought.

“I appreciate the partnerships that we are cultivating towards drought mitigation. The task ahead of us requires partnerships and wider participation by all citizens of Kenya,” said Mr Ndegwa.

In the worst-hit counties, tens of thousands of domestic livestock have died leaving the communities vulnerable due to the loss of their livelihoods.

The drought has also been wreaking havoc in Kenya’s wildlife ecosystems, with thousands of wild animals reported dead.

According to data collated by Kenya Wildlife Service and partners including the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Amboseli National Park ecosystem has reported the loss of over 6,000 wildlife, including nearly 4,000 wildebeests, 1,400 zebras, 127 elephants, 93 giraffes, 52 buffalos, over 300 gazelles, and 106 impalas. The losses are the highest number of deaths recorded in the area as a result of drought.

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