Alert as six million Kenyans to be hard hit by drought by January

President William Ruto when he flagged off food aid to 23 Counties at State House on September 26, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The number of Kenyans affected by drought is expected to hit six million by 2023 according to the latest projection by the National Drought Management Authority.

This, according to the authority, is due to the failed fifth rain season which has seen the drought situation remain critical in 20 of the 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) counties.

According to a release by the authority, the government had planned a multi-agency assessment in January that would give a clearer picture of the impact of the 2022 short rain season.

"The drought situation remains critical, especially in arid and semi-arid areas where the October to December shorts rains season has so far performed poorly as predicted," said the agency.

The situation is expected to improve slightly within the month due to the rains received in parts of the ASALs.

"However, these gains are expected to be short-lived as the country heads into the normal January-March 2022 dry spell," stated NDMA.

The NDMA further noted that currently, 13 counties of Taita Taveta, Isiolo, Kilifi, Kwale, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, Kitui, Kajiado, Mandera, Garissa, Tana River and Marsabit were in alarm drought phase.

"Some pockets in Baringo, West Pokot and Lamu these counties, such as Masol Ward and Sekker Sub-county are experiencing drought stress," said the report.

According to the CS for East Africa Community, ASALs and Regional Development Rebecca Miano, the government had scaled up relief interventions to cushion those affected by drought.

She said that the State and UN Agencies had launched an appeal of USD472.6 (about Sh58 billion) million to support 4.3 million of the 6.4 million people projected to require humanitarian assistance as a result of drought by 2023.

"Development partners, the private sector and other non-state actors have continued supporting the government to bridge the resource gap as the drought crisis worsens."