The Council of Governors (COG) has called upon the national government to allocate a minimum of 50% of the National Contingency Fund for use by County Governments in their El Niño preparedness and response initiatives.
COG Chairperson Anne Waiguru, who also serves as the Governor of Kirinyaga County, revealed that collectively, counties have only budgeted approximately Ksh.1 billion for El Niño disaster mitigation and response efforts. Waiguru stressed the need to secure additional resources in case the expected heavy rains lead to significant challenges.
She stated, “We understand that addressing the impacts of El Niño requires financial resources. We will actively collaborate with the national government, development partners, and the private sector to ensure that the required funding and resources are available to support our readiness and response endeavors.”
This statement was made during a meeting on El Niño Preparedness and Response held with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at his official residence in Karen.
Waiguru emphasized that counties would prioritize the reinforcement of infrastructure vulnerable to damage from heavy rainfall and flooding, including roads, bridges, and drainage systems.
Additionally, she stressed the importance of conducting public awareness and educational campaigns to inform citizens about the risks associated with El Niño events and how to safeguard themselves.
“We are committed to collaborating with National Government Administration Officers at the county level to ensure consistent reporting and documentation of all relevant events during and after El Niño. We envision a Kenya where every mother can assure her child of safety during the rainy season, where farmers can anticipate rains without the fear of losses, and where businesses, students, and leaders understand they are not alone in the face of natural disasters,” Governor Waiguru added.
She also noted that 23 counties have completed their risk assessments and mitigation plans, while the remainder are finalizing theirs. Multi-government and multisectoral El Niño County Steering Committees and County Disaster Committees have developed mitigation strategies for high-risk areas.
Waiguru urged the National Treasury to release the outstanding balances of the County Governments’ equitable revenue shares for the months of August and September 2023, totaling Ksh.35.24 billion, to enable counties to adequately prepare. She stressed the need for comprehensive plans for the potential evacuation of residents in flood-prone areas and the establishment of well-equipped evacuation centers to provide shelter, food, and medical care for those affected by the rains.