State issues drought alert in 10 counties

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The State is warning of worsening drought in at least 10 counties.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said the government is working around the clock to assist families in the counties afflicted by the drought. 

He cited Garissa, Isiolo, Kilifi, Mandera, Samburu, Tana River, Wajir, Lamu, Marsabit and Turkana as the hardest hit.

“The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) has new data that indicates that the current drought situation could get worse between August and December, hence the need for action,” he said.

His statement came following a study by NDMA, which pointed to poor rainfall.

The report states that the number of affected counties rose from eight to ten with fears that the numbers could increase in the coming days.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The CS spoke in Naivasha after attending a consultative meeting with MPs from Marsabit and Turkana on how to address the current challenges.

He said that Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had committed Sh1.5 billion and the European Union Sh500 million towards assisting the vulnerable families through the provision of water.

Wamalwa added that in July, the State released Sh559 million through the Hunger Safety network. The funds targetted 100,000 vulnerable families affected by the drought.

“In August we shall release a similar amount to assist those affected. We are keen on building the communities resilience as part of mitigation measures,” he said.

Wamalwa added the construction of three mega-dams in Turkana, West Pokot and Marsabit, which were at an advanced stage, will fully address the perennial shortage of water. “We have come to learn that water pans dry fast and are not effective in addressing the water crisis in the semi-arid counties,” he said.

Camels seeking pastures in drought-stricken Moyale, Marsabit County.  [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Saku MP Raso Dido said families and livestock were struggling to get water and pasture.

He noted that with schools reopening in a couple of days, there were fears that many students in the affected counties could drop out.

“We are asking the government to speed up the process of distributing relief food to the affected families as the situation is getting worse by the day for both humans and livestock,” he said.