Kenya: Drought Situation Continues to Deteriorate in the Country

The drought condition in the country continued to deteriorate as several parts of the arid and semi-arid lands(ASALs) remained relatively dry and sunny with 20 out of the 23 arid and semiarid counties affected.

Kenya Drought Situation Continues to Deteriorate in the Country

According to the National Drought Management Authority, the number of people in need of urgent food assistance in Kenya is projected to increase further to about 4.35 million by October following the situation. This rapid deterioration follows a fourth consecutive poor rainfall season impacting negatively on crop production and worsening the livestock body conditions across the ASALs. Seven counties namely Isiolo, Mandera, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, Laikipia, and Marsabit are in the alarm drought phase while thirteen counties including Embu, Garissa, Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Meru, Narok, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Kwale and Kilifi are in Alert drought phase. Baringo, West Pokot and Lamu are in a normal drought phase after receiving moderate off-season rains. Two sub-counties in Garissa (Balambala, Lagdera) are in the extreme vegetation deficit band, while three counties; Isiolo, Laikipia and Mandera are in severe vegetation deficit.

“The August 2022 weather outlook indicates that several parts of the arid and semi-arid Lands (95 percent) will be typically dry and sunny. The Pastoral North East(PNE) counties including; Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Garissa and Tana River counties will experience generally sunny and dry weather conditions. The same will apply to some parts of coastal counties with the exemption of the coastal strip of Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu counties” said Lt. Col. (Rtd) Hared Hassan, Chief Executive Officer, National Drought Management Authority (NDMA). Malnutrition has also been noted across the counties with 884,464 cases of children aged 6-59 months acutely malnourished and 115,725 cases of pregnant or lactating women acutely malnourished and in need of treatment.

This has been aggravated by decline in milk production. “Milk production was on a worsening trend as compared to the month of July in most of the counties. However, some counties including; Baringo, Baringo, Kilifi, Mandera, Tana River, Tharaka Nithi and West Pokot recorded an improving trend compared with last month,” said the CEO. The livestock mortalities have also been reported in some parts of Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo and Mandera counties. The Government has enhanced drought interventions in the affected sectors including livestock offtake, water tracking, provision of livestock feeds and supplements, and food and safety nets. “UN agencies, International and local NGOs continued to support and complement Government drought mitigation efforts. Last financial year, the Government released Sh4 billion to Hunger Safety Net Programme cash transfer beneficiaries and a further Sh3.45 billion for emergency relief. Another Sh950 million was spent on livestock offtake while Sh446 million was used in water response activities,” said Hassan.

The Government disbursed over Sh3.23 billion under the Inua Jamii cash transfers to 402,098 beneficiaries in the ASALs while the Ministry of Education spent Sh2.2 billion for school feeding programme targeting 851,987 learners in 2,855 schools. Kenya is among the Horn of Africa countries affected by the current severe drought in the region that has left millions across the region, Somalia and Ethiopia facing acute food insecurity and malnutrition. Decline in livestock prices, an increase in cereal prices, and the general increase in prices of most consumer goods continue to undermine the purchasing power of households, exacerbating food insecurity in ASAL counties.

Source: This news is originally published by allafrica