Governors have called for increased funding from the national government and other development partners to help fight disasters in counties.
The Council of Governors Arid and Semi-Arid and disaster risk management committee chairman Nathif Jama said that many counties were facing challenges in fighting disasters due to poor funding and inadequate resources.
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Jama, in a statement on Thursday, February 8, said that despite the challenges that have come with disasters, especially those linked to climate change, counties play many-sided responsibilities in disaster risk management including risk assessment, monitoring, early warning systems, emergency response strategies, evacuation plans, and effective resource mobilization for post-disaster reconstruction and recovery.
He however noted that counties face many challenges in performing these roles, including limited resources, weak institutional capacity, policy gaps, centralized decision-making, and inefficient resource allocation at the national level.
“It is the county governments that find themselves in the first line of defense in this battle due to their proximity to the affected communities,” said governor Jama.
“The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s estimate that disasters cause approximately $250 billion in economic losses globally each year. In Kenya, the recent prolonged drought resulted in over Sh40 billion in expenses,” he added.
Council of governors technical lead on agriculture and livestock development, Robert Kiteme on the other hand reaffirmed the pivotal role that counties play in disaster and disaster risk management.
“Our counties are not just administrative divisions; they are the frontlines where the impacts of these calamities are most acutely felt and where the response is most urgently needed,” said Kiteme.
Governor Jama urged all stakeholders, including national and county governments and partners, to collaborate in establishing comprehensive, effective disaster risk management systems.
He emphasized that disaster risk management is a dynamic process that requires continuous adaptation and improvement.
“Counties are continually striving to enhance disaster risk management through initiatives such as setting up county command centers, strengthening human resources, resourcing for drm (disaster risk management), and improving collaboration and response times,” he said.