The Kenyan government has raised an alarm that about 1.6 million may require food assistance due to a looming drought in the arid and semi-arid (ASAL) areas in the East African nation. Deputy President William Ruto said in a statement on Friday that about 20 out of 47 counties will require drought mitigation measures to avert crisis if the short rains fail. "It was learnt that close to 20 counties required drought mitigation measures. If short rains fail, 1.6 million people could require food aid," Ruto said in the statement issued after he chaired a government meeting on food security in Nairobi. The meeting brought together the Council of Governors and senior government officials to discuss the impending drought and urgent intervention measures to mitigate its impact. "The National Government and Governors agreed to jointly address issues of food security, water, livestock and health," the statement said. The ministry of devolution and planning will share drought information with the county governments to help them with drought preparedness, response and resilience. They also agreed that governors should avail suitable storage facilities for the provision of food and fertilizer by the ministries of agriculture, livestock and fisheries.