State to buy relief food, animal feeds for drought-hit counties

Devolution CAS Abdul Bahari

Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary Abdul Bahari who has said the the government is in the process of procuring more food and livestock feeds for 10 counties worst hit by drought.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media Group

The government plans to purchase more relief food and livestock feeds for 10 counties worst hit by drought, Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary Abdul Bahari has said.

Reports indicate that more than two million Kenyans are on brink of starvation due to hunger occasioned by the drought in the 10 counties with Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera at the alarm stage.

Other affected counties are Kilifi, Samburu, Tana River, Lamu, Marsabit and Turkana.

“The government is in the process of procuring food for the affected Kenyans and distribution will start soon to cushion those affected,” Mr Bahari said.

Speaking during Isiolo County Steering Group meeting attended by Deputy Governor Abdi Issa, County Secretary Ahmed Galgalo and County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding, the CAS stressed the need to coordinate the relief support from different stakeholders for effectiveness.

Expectant mothers, children

“This is to ensure those who benefit are the neediest and that we reach as many people as possible for better results,” he noted, adding that expectant mothers, children and elderly are the most affected.

Dr Issa said the drought had resulted in the drying of more than 90 per cent of water sources, threatening pastoralism.

Residents of Garbatulla and Merti have been walking for more than 10 kilometres to access water points.

“There is need for urgent interventions because more than 100,000 Isiolo residents are hungry and pastoralists require feed to salvage their emaciated animals,” Dr Issa said.

In Isiolo, the most affected wards are Sericho, Oldonyiro, Garbatulla, Cherab and parts of Burat with reports from the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) showing that 55 per cent of residents (147,400) are facing hunger.

Water harvesting

The Isiolo deputy governor appealed to the government to assist the county in storm water harvesting and management during the rainy season for irrigation use when drought hits in order to ensure food security.

The drought has also resulted in dwindling of pastures, prompting resource-based conflicts that have seen tens of people killed in the last seven months.

Dr Issa asked herders from neighbouring counties to follow laid down grazing procedures and to shun invading Isiolo side without permission from the elders and local grazing committees to prevent clashes and loss of lives.

Mr Omoding said sub-county committees had been reactivated to ensure no one dies from hunger or lack of water.

“The government (through the military) is providing water trucking services to ensure residents in affected areas have regular supply of the commodity,” the administrator said.

The Isiolo NDMA office is currently offering water trucking services, fuel subsidy and fast moving spare parts for boreholes in the hard-hit areas.