Herders in Marsabit County are counting heavy losses after thousands of sheep and goats died following heavy rains.
The downpours that pounded Marsabit County on Monday night left a trail of destruction in North Horr sub-county, leaving over 5,000 sheep and goats dead.
North Horr sub-county Deputy County Commissioner Silvester Mwangulu told the Nation that the rains cut off herders who were in 16 satellite areas around Bulluk, Ndare, Chalbi Ndogo in Dukana and Illeret wards.
“On Monday night, a few areas in North Horr sub-county, especially along the Ethiopia-Kenya border, experienced a heavy downpour which was accompanied by a hailstorm, leading to the deaths of over 5,00 goats and sheep,” Mr Mwangulu said by phone.
Only about 100 animals survived.
The rains were also sparked flash floods from the neighbouring Ethiopian highlands.
Mr Mwangulu attributed the sudden deaths to the impact of the hailstorm on the animals following a prolonged drought in the region that hit in May 2021.
The surviving livestock had deteriorating health.
He appealed for food supplies to be extended to livestock farmers in the affected areas, which were rendered inaccessible.
He said they relied on a Kenya Army helicopter to access the affected areas.
Prolonged exposure to cold
A livestock expert in the county, who sought anonymity, said such sudden deaths of animals could be attributed to hypothermia, a significant and potentially dangerous drop in body temperature, the most common cause being prolonged exposure to cold.
North Horr MP Chachu Ganya also appealed to the government and other humanitarian agencies to come to the aid of the affected herders.
He told the Nation that the farmers had struggled to feed the animals mostly with hay and had pegged their hopes on the anticipated rains to replenish pasture and water, only to wake up to huge losses on Tuesday.
“We appeal to the government for urgent intervention to help the livestock farmers who have lost their livelihoods and who are stranded in Ndare, Chalbi Ndogo and Bulluk in North Horr constituency,” Mr Ganya said.
He was disheartened that the rains that would have offered relief to the drought-affected areas became another cause of massive destruction.
Most area livestock farmers had also hoped to sell their animals to the Kenya Meat Commission through the off-take programme.
He cautioned residents in the plains about fresh flash floods from projected heavy rains.