Kenya readies itself for fight against drought

The Kenyan government has set aside Ksh 28 billion (about $280M) to tackle the effects of drought as forecasts project a dry spell ahead.

Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said the funds will be directed towards projects in the county’s worst-hit regions, including the drilling of boreholes and storage facilities.

The projects will be implemented by the national government in partnership with the African Development Bank.

“We are focusing on ground water mapping. We strongly believe underground water is very important. Already we have established two aquifers in Turkana County; one is salty and the other is fresh water. Further studies are ongoing to isolate the salty one,” local Daily Nation newspaper quotes Chelugui to say.

Kenya went through a lengthy dry spell between 2016 and 2017, prompting the government in February 2017 to declare drought a national emergency in some regions.

The United Nations said the drought had affected close to 3 million people.

Chelugui said the government was targeting to achieve universal water coverage by 2030, and was planning to connect 200,000 Kenyans to potable water.

“Considering that drought and floods are natural phenomena, we are already putting in place measures in liaison with other government agencies and stakeholders to mitigate its effects,” he said.