President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday declared the drought, which has affected as much as half the country, a national disaster and appealed for international aid.
He said his government would increase food handouts to the the most affected communities to counter the effect. The Kenya Red Cross has estimated around 2.7 million people are going to face starvation if more help is not provided.
Other countries in the region have also hit by the drought. In Somalia, nearly half the population is suffering from food shortages and the UN says there is a risk of famine in several parts of the country.
During the last drought on this scale in 2011, famine killed about 250,000 Somalis.
Neighbouring Ethiopia is also facing a hunger crisis for a second consecutive year. While northern and western parts of Ethiopia bore the brunt of El Niño weather phenomenon, a new drought has emerged in southern and southeastern pastoral areas.
The United Nations said it already appealed for more than $900 million in aid.
President Kenyatta called for local and international partners to come in and support the government’s efforts to contain the situation.
In a statement from his office, Mr Kenyatta said the government had allocated $105m to tackle the drought which has affected people, livestock and wildlife in 23 of Kenya’s 47 counties.
“Support from our partners would complement government’s effort in mitigating the effect of drought,” he said.
Mr Kenyatta added that all purchases of food and other items would be made in a transparent way.
“I will not tolerate anybody who would try to take advantage of this situation to defraud public funds,: the president said.