Northern Kenya governors want hunger declared national disaster

ASAL governors

From right: Lamu Governor Issa Timamy, Nathif Jama (Garissa), Marsabit's Ali Mohamud, Wajir's Ahmed Abdullahi and Mandera's Mohamed Aden Khalif addressing journalists in Mombasa. They called on President William Ruto to declare biting hunger in their region's a national disaster.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

Governors of Northern Kenya counties want hunger in the region declared a national disaster.

Ahmed Abdullahi (Wajir), Mohamud Ali (Marsabit), Nathif Jama (Garissa) Mohamed Aden Khalif (Mandera) spoke after the induction of governors and deputy governors in Mombasa. They were supported by Lamu's Issa Timamy.

They appealed to President William Ruto to declare hunger in the northern region a national disaster and help alleviate locals’ suffering.

The leaders, representing the Frontier Counties Development Council and arid and semi-arid lands, said they had few resources to address hunger in their areas.

They lamented that their regions had not received rains for several seasons.

Grazing fields for pastoral communities have dried up and there is inadequate water for their livestock. This leads to conflicts among the communities and cattle rustling.

Immediate action

The leaders urged immediate action to protect their people and their livelihoods.

Malnutrition is threatening children and mothers.

Mr Ali said: “There are serious malnutrition rates across the counties and cases of malnourished pregnant and lactating mothers in urgent need of treatment and nutritional support."

Mr Abdullahi added that their inability to intervene due to the transition that’s happening in the counties has worsened the situation.

The Wajir governor also called on the relevant bodies to help tackle the emergency.

“I wish to call upon our development partners and the national government, including the National Drought Management Authority and other relevant agencies, to intervene in order to alleviate the effects of the emergency drought situation being witnessed,” he said.

He added that counties have no money to implement any measures to curb the effects of drought.

“The National Treasury has not released money to any of these counties and we don’t see that happening probably in the next couple of weeks until such a time when the budgeting process is complete,” he said.

The governors urged President Ruto to declare the drought a national disaster. “We request the President to announce the situation as a national disaster because it is indeed a disaster,” said Governor Mohamud.

He thanked NGOs and other partners for supporting the counties and urged them to scale it up.