By George Obulutsa >>> NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya said on Friday it was declaring a drought in the east African economy a national disaster, saying it had affected 23 out of its 47 regions, known as counties.

The government says the drought followed low rainfall during the October and November rainy season.

"The president also called on local and international partners to come in and support the government’s efforts to contain the situation, which has not only affected human beings and livestock but also wild animals," President Uhuru Kenyatta's office said in a statement.

The statement did not say how much the government aimed to raise to deal with the drought, but said it had already released 7.3 billion shillings ($70.57 million), and authorities at the county level had provided another 2 billion shillings.

It also did not say how may people had been affected. The Kenya Red Cross said in a statement earlier this week some 2.7 million people were in need of food aid.

"The government intends to enhance the interventions including doubling of food rations and cash transfers among other measures," the statement from Kenyatta's office said.

Early this month residents in drought-struck northern Kenya said at least 11 people had died and a tourist lodge had been torched due to conflicts when armed cattle herders flooded onto farms and wildlife conservancies.

 

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