State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed has explained why the government has not yet declared the El Nino phenomenon as a national disaster.
Hussein Mohamed: Why Cabinet hasn't declared El Nino a national disaster
According to official government records, the El Nino has resulted in the death of at least 76 Kenyans and the displacement of 35,000 households.
While issuing updates from the Cabinet meeting chaired by President William Ruto earlier in the day, Mohamed said that the situation had not reached levels that warrant the declaration of a national disaster.
He said the matter was considered during the special meeting but the Cabinet resolved that the situation was being handled.
“The decision to declare a national disaster is based on data on the ground. The data that has been assessed on the ground only puts this so far at an alarming stage,” Hussein said.
He added that the government has set up a national disaster operations centre at Nyayo House which will be under the Ministry of Interior.
“They are assessing, by the minute, data from the ground and whether there is a need to escalate it beyond where it is now,” the State House spokesperson said.
According to official government records, the El Nino has resulted in the death of at least 75 Kenyans and the displacement of 35,000 households.
He said that the government had disbursed Sh10 billion in shareable revenue to counties, which governors are expected to use to help affected families. The spokesperson added that the government would allocate another Sh10 billion.
Hussein added that the heavy rains were also beneficial in some parts of the country, especially in Kenya’s food baskets.
The government has allocated Sh500 million to New KCC so that they can offtake milk from farmers.
Due to the increased capacity of Kenya's hydrogeneration in this period, the price of power tariffs is expected to decrease.
Addressing the miscommunication between the president and the Kenya Met Department regarding the possibility of El Nino, Hussein defended that weather prediction is not a precise science, but the government made steps to mitigate the risk.
“The warning from the Met Department was taken seriously and that is why he (The President) was the first person to pronounce himself on the matter. They classified this as an El Nino phenomenon and there was a warning.
"The same Met downgraded, so the President was speaking from information from Met and then the President communicated. The most important thing is to deal with the situation at hand,” he said.
Hussein urged all Kenyans should exercise patience and caution while travelling, wait for storm waters to subside before attempting to cross roads, report any instances of flooding or landslides to the authorities and strictly follow all guidelines issued by the government
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