Disaster: Drought to get worse, agency now cautions

National Drought Management Authority board chairperson Raphael Nzomo (left) and EU’s Myra Bernadi flag off livestock feed supplements yesterday. [Courtesy]
National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) has warned that the dry spell ravaging most parts of the country will worsen and last until end of October.

NDMA Chief Executive Officer James Oduor said the drought has affected about 2.6 million people, a majority in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (Asals).

Mr Oduor was speaking yesterday when NDMA and European Union officials flagged off eight vehicles to support monitoring of drought in select counties. The officials also flagged off a 12-seater boat, for a similar purpose, in Lamu County.

“The situation is likely to continue worsening,” he warned.

SEE ALSO :Kenya will remain food insecure if we do not embrace irrigation

This comes three weeks after North Eastern MPs, led by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, appealed for urgent food and water, saying about 2 million people were on the brink of starvation.

Duale blamed the acute food, water and pasture shortage in the region on the failed long rains between April and May.

“We ask the national and county governments, and international donors to come to the aid of the people affected by the drought,” he said.

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Some of the most affected areas are Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Samburu, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, and Tigania West. 

Yesterday, NDMA CEO said the state agency was responding to 23 counties in dire need of food while 12 other counties were receiving other forms of intervention including provision of livestock feed supplements and water.

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“We have been intervening and as situation continue to worsen, we upscale the intervention in terms of provision of food, livestock feeds and water trucking among others,” CEO Oduor said while downplaying claims that the situation was getting out of hand.

He maintained, “We will contain the situation by preventing high cases of malnutrition, curbing livestock deaths and ensuring people will not starve.”

Oduor was speaking when NDMA and European Union (EU) flagged of eight vehicles for to support monitoring of drought situation in different counties and a 12-seater boat for similar purpose in Lamu County.

The cost of the vehicles and boat is Sh76 million composed of European Union’s contribution of Sh48 million and Government funding of Sh28 million.

NDMA said the intervention has seen the authority spend sh218 million between February and August to address the adverse effects of drought in the country.

“NDMA has disbursed a total of Sh218 million to Baringo, Garissa, Isiolo, Laikipia, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir and West Pokot Counties,” explained NDMA board chairperson Raphael Nzomo.

Eight vehicles and a 12-seater boat were flagged off yesterday. [Courtesy]
Nzomo said the funds were used to enhance livestock health, maintenance of water facilities, water provision and peace-related activities.

“The absence of pasture has led to emaciation of livestock, decline in milk production and loss of livestock. This in turn affects food and nutrition security at the household level,” argued Mr Nzomo.

Nzomo said intervention through provision of feed supplements was another effective method of curbing deaths of livestock and ensuring there was steady supply of milk to cushion pastoralists from starvation.

Since the beginning of this month, Nzomo revealed, the authority had distributed 24,600 bags of specially formulated drought pellets in ASAL counties.

He said the intervention was based on the request by the affected counties that continue to bear the drought scourge.

“Priority has been given to the hardest hit counties of Garissa (10,200), Wajir (8,400) and Tana River (6,000),” said Nzomo adding that the demand was expected to increase in the near future.

Myra Bernadi, EU delegation to Kenya said EU had spent Sh8 billion on mitigating effects of drought since 2007 and noted that there was significant increase in the level of response by the Government.

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DroughtNational Drought Management AuthorityJames Oduor