Drought / East Africa / Food Security / ILRI / Insurance / Kenya

Kenya drought study

“Northern Kenya can be said to be under a permanent crisis, it’s a region with fewer than 10 medical doctors, no specialists; only the rich can access required healthcare services and many lives are lost daily whether we are in a disaster or not,” Ahmed said.

Kenya’s failure to implement a disaster preparedness policy has meant that response to emergencies is often slow, poorly coordinated and unnecessarily expensive, say specialists.

A draft of Kenya’s National Disaster Management policy was forwarded to the Cabinet in September 2009 but has not been discussed in parliament.

The policy’s main recommendations included setting up a national disaster strategy, stockpiles of food to add to grain reserves, disaster trust funds, district contingency plans and insurance initiatives.

In a report [http://www.preventionweb.net/english/email/url.php?eid=14801] assessing the response to the 2008-2009 drought in Kenya, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) said the quality of contingency plans had improved, but required fine-tuning.

“As yet there are no agreed-upon triggers for the release of contingency funds,” the agency said. “Furthermore, access to these funds is often delayed due to treasury-related constraints.

“Creation of a sufficiently endowed national drought contingency fund deserves the highest priority,” it said.

More at Reuters AlertNet, Kenya: Call to boost disaster preparedness in marginalized north, 13 August 2010

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