KCB Bank has donated Ksh 3million to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) towards drought alleviation in counties that are in urgent need of food assistance.
Through the Cash Transfer Program initiated by KRCS, the donation will benefit families in Ijara and North Tana areas, in Garissa and Tana River Counties respectively. These are among the hardest hit by the ongoing drought in the country.
“We believe this contribution will transform the lives of the communities in Garissa and Tana River as part of our social responsibility investments,” said Joshua Oigara, KCB Group CEO and MD while handing over the cheque to the Kenya Red Cross Society. “We have a duty as the corporate sector to give back to communities we work within in order to drive sustainability of our nation.”
As forecasted by the Kenya Meteorological Departments (KMD), the Western, Rift Valley and Central parts of Kenya have received adequate October-November-December (OND) short rains, while in the South Eastern, Coast and Northern parts of Kenya, these rains have had a poor start leading to the extension of the dry lean season that usually lasts from August to October.
As a result, the number of counties in the Alarm Drought Phase has risen to six (6) according to assessments by National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) (Garissa, Mandera, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, and Marsabit), while ten (10) others are at Alert Phase (Kajiado, Laikipia, Makueni, Meru, Narok, Samburu, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir).
This has led to poor harvests in marginal agricultural areas, high malnutrition rates, poor pasture, and inadequate water resources which have further resulted in unseasonal migration, livestock deaths that have negatively affected farmers’ incomes and access to animal products, and ethnic conflicts in pastoral areas.
The Kenya Red Cross Society with support from partners has been implementing a variety of interventions to support communities cope with the ongoing drought among them; the Cash Transfer Project (CTP), In kind food distributions and Livestock off-Take program. The funds will further support the affected communities by improving their health, water access, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition and food security.
“We are thankful for the support we continue to receive from partners. KCB has been our long standing partner during times of disaster, forever supporting the people of Kenya,” KRCS Deputy Secretary General Abshiro Halake said. “The Kenya Red Cross Society has always been there during all crises, tirelessly serving Kenyans and saving lives, and every time we have called on KCB for help, they never disappointed,” she added.
Earlier on, KRCS launched a drought appeal of Kshs 387 million with an overall objective of meeting the immediate urgent needs of 114,620 drought-affected persons in the five (5) priority counties.
About the Drought Situation
Currently, 1.3 million people Kenyans are acutely food insecure and in need of assistance. It is expected that food insecurity across most pastoral areas is likely to worsen in early 2017 and be more widespread than previously projected due to substantial drops in livestock productivity and income (FewsNet 2016). The short rains have been even more below average than previously anticipated, despite some enhanced rainfall from mid-November. As a result, poor harvests are likely in the southeast and coastal marginal agricultural areas due to the delayed onset and poor distribution.
In view of this, food security is projected to worsen with more families moving into Crisis Phase (IPC 3) from January 2017 in Arid and Semi-Arid counties due to the continuing dry conditions and the gradually increasing food prices since July 2016, as households deplete their food stocks and increasingly rely on markets. Contracting incomes due to below-average casual labour availability, coupled with increasing, albeit gradually, staple food prices will continue to reduce household food access (FEWSNet).
In these areas, malnutrition rates have continued to soar and are above the emergency threshold (GAM above 20%) mainly driven by poor dietary intake, food utilization and a high disease burden in some areas. A combination of these factors and the chronic challenges such as limited access to quality health services and inappropriate child care and feeding practices have resulted in high malnutrition rates in these areas (FSNWG, Nutrition Report, September 2016). Communities in these areas will be unable to cope unless urgent humanitarian interventions are initiated especially for the most vulnerable populations