Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua says Kenya is a drought crisis with more than 5.3 million people facing starvation in 31 counties after missing five rain seasons consecutively.
He spoke when he joined the United Nations (UN) to celebrate the 45th annual Lions” Day at the United Nation’s headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi.
The celebration themed hunger, nutrition and wellness called on people around the globe to find innovative solutions for the growing challenges especially brought about by severe climatic conditions.
“We are in a crisis. No doubt, the world is bleeding from the impacts of climate change. Kenya is bleeding from the impact of climate change. To demonstrate the impact of climate change, Kenya has consecutively missed five rain seasons,” he said
He added, “We are deep into one of the longest droughts in four decades. Wildlife one of our leading foreign exchange earner, has also not been spared. The drought is threatening to drive the world’s heritage- the wildlife- to oblivion.”
The deputy president called for collaboration through the Climate action commitment to solve the menace of food insecurity and malnutrition.
“While we appreciate the UN Family and other national and international non-state actors for their support of more than Sh47.8 billion towards emergency response in the past few months, the situation is dire. “
The DP has also called on all Kenyans to undertake the #jazamiti initiative led by President Ruto, targeting 15 billion trees by 2032 to increase the forest cover.
“While Kenya is taking immediate and a few long-term measures in response to drought and famine, we cannot manage the situation alone. We need children in school otherwise they will be left behind. We need safe pregnancies and deliveries but malnutrition among expectant and lactating mothers and children threatens to erase gains already made,” said the DP.
He said the ripple effect is that hungry people cannot escape poverty, they cannot be healthy, they cannot go to school and they cannot be peaceful.
The DP noted there was a direct link between food security and the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals in which they seek to leave no one behind.
“As we celebrate the 45th Lions Day, the World and humans are interconnected; if we have to save humanity from the threat of extinction, my burden must be your burden. We must stand united or we perish,” said Gachagua.
He said the Kenya Kwanza administration was laying short and long term strategies and investments which include drilling of more boreholes, intensifying water harvesting through mega dams across the country to restore human dignity and put Kenya back on the trajectory of realisation of Agenda 2030 of the UN alongside our own, Vision 2030.