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Details of Sh16B donation to Kenya after US First Lady's visit

Following First Lady Jill Biden's visit to Kenya over the weekend, President Ruto has confirmed receiving a $126 million donation from the United States.

USA's first lady Jill Biden (left) and President William Ruto

President William Ruto has thanked the US government for donating $126 million (Sh16 billion) to Kenya toward the fight against hunger in the nation, a problem that the country has been struggling to address due to drought.

In an official statement posted online, President Ruto noted that the drought comes after years of consecutive failed rain cycles.

"On behalf of the people of Kenya, my profound gratitude to the US government for this generous support to very deserving people suffering the worst drought due to 4 years of consecutive failed rains.

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"Water harvesting to enhance food/livestock production & manage climate change effects," Ruto posted.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has stated that the money will be used to meet the urgent needs of 1.3 million Kenyans due to the low rains experienced in the country.

"Rainfall in Kenya is now less than 70% of the 30-year average across most of the country. This severe drought had caused a dire hunger crisis.

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"Today USAID announced $126M (Sh16 billion) in additional food assistance to meet urgent needs for 1.3M people across Kenya," stated Samantha Power who is the current USAID administrator.

US First Lady Jill Biden visited Kenya on February 24, 2023, and she had an opportunity of touring some of the regions that have been severely affected by drought in Kenya.

She held discussions with some of the residents from the affected regions in Kenya and stressed the need for unity as the world tries to fight the severe drought.

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"Here in the Horn of Africa, a prolonged drought has left communities with devastating consequences in its wake. As our world has become more connected, we have seen how hunger and violence, poverty and natural disasters, aren’t contained by borders," she said in a statement.

Kenyans have reacted differently by expressing their thoughts on how best the government should spend the donations from the USA.

Kelvin Vokes, while responding to Ruto's tweet on the donation, urged the government to benchmark with countries that have managed to fight drought and emulate the strategies that have worked.

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"I think we should study dry countries like Israel. It's a dry country yet it's doing well in agriculture. Kenyan land is fertile the only problem is the lack of water. If we can dig lots of boreholes, build dams and manmade lakes tutakuwa mbali," tweeted Kelvin Vokes.

Steven Kamau added that Kenya in partnership with USAID should find a way of harvesting water in semi-arid areas so that the country tackles the food shortage.

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