Kenya's Cabinet met in an emergency session to agree on steps to prevent mass starvation across the country. They discussed the report of a sub-committee which paints an alarming picture of the food situation.
The government believes more than 10 million need food aid. Compiled by a cross-section of ministries, it details the shortage of food and water for people and livestock.
On top of dry taps and daylong blackouts, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has warned Parliament that this year, the maize harvest will be 20 million bags, 13 million bags short of the annual requirement.
The Kenyan economy is highly susceptible to drought. It pushes up the price of food and general inflation and forces the government to direct more of its resources to importing food at the expense of development.
Malnutrition is particularly serious problem, according to the Red Cross, and in some parts of the country, one in every five children is not getting enough to eat.
Livestock continue to die at a very high rate, said the Red Cross. So far, 40 people have died from drought-related causes.
Information from Government departments, the UN agencies and NGOs, the Red Cross report said, also indicates that the worsening drought has led to severe water shortage.
And it warns: “This is likely to compromise safe water and sanitation services that could trigger waterborne diseases.”
Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi announced power rationing in late July, because there isn’t enough water in the country to generate it.
In the program, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company says that residents of Nairobi will experience power blackouts from 6am to 6pm for three days in a week.