URGENT ACTION

Sh1.5bn needed to fight drought in ASAL counties

Funding will ease the compounded threat to food and nutrition security

In Summary

• FAO says Kenya’s drought response plan requires Sh9.4bn for July-November this year, Sh5.8bn for food and safety net support and Sh3.6bn or non-food help.

• Current drought indicators showed about two million people in ASAL counties are in need of assistance.

CS for Devolution and ASAL Eugene Wamalwa and FAO representative to Kenya Carla Mucavi, sign an action plan to combat drought in ASAL counties.
DROUGHT HELP: CS for Devolution and ASAL Eugene Wamalwa and FAO representative to Kenya Carla Mucavi, sign an action plan to combat drought in ASAL counties.
Image: FAO

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization is seeking Sh1.5 billion to cushion pastoral and agro-pastoralist communities in ASAL counties against  drought.

The counties to benefit are Samburu, Isiolo, Turkana, Garissa, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir and Tana River.

Carla Mucavi, FAO representative to Kenya, said appeal is in response to a drought alert in June, Twelve of the 23 ASAL counties were in the alert drought phase, while 16 reported a declining trend.

“Livelihood has declined due to reduced access to pasture. Fifty-six per cent of the ASAL counties reported increased trekking distances to water sources for livestock and domestic use,” Mucavi said.

“This is expected to worsen in the coming months hence the need for urgent anticipatory action.”

She spoke during the signing of the Anticipatory Action and Response Plan for Pastoral and Agro-pastoral Communities in ASAL counties between FAO, the Ministry of Devolution and ASAL

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa said coooperton will go a long way in  building the resilience of communities.

“Urgent action and a coordinated response is needed from donors and other stakeholders before the situation deteriorates further,” he said.

Wamalwa said drought indicators showed about two million people in ASAL counties need assistance.

He said the figure is likely to rise as the situation worsens because there is a severe deficit of vegetation in Isiolo and Lagdera subcounty of Garissa,.

The rest of Garissa,  Kilifi, Marsabit, Tana River and Wajir counties report a moderate vegetation deficit.

“The proportion of children at risk of malnutrition is already above average in seven ASAL counties (Embu, Taita Taveta, Makueni, Narok, Kjiado, Meru, Nyeri),” he said.

“Families are now forced to cover longer distances to access water for domestic and livestock use as water sources have dried up.”

FAO said, Kenya’s drought response plan requires Sh9.4 billion for July to November; Sh5.8 billion for food and safety net support and Sh3.6 billion for non-food assistance.

Mucavi said the plan will cushion livestock assets and vulnerable pastoral households against the drought, support works for increased access to water for livestock and domestic used.

It will also strengthen the institutional and technical capacity of National Drought Management Authority to implement the early warning mechanism.

The CS said the 2020 Short Rains Assessment established the season had performed poorly.

As of February, 1.4 million people in ASAL counties were already experiencing acute food insecurity.

This was aggravated by other factors including the Covid-19 pandemic, the desert locust invasion, food commodity price spikes and livestock diseases,” Wamalwa said.

“Since then, the long rains in March to May have also underperformed. The onset of the season was late, the rainfall was below normal in most ASAL counties and its distribution in both space and time was poor,” Wamalwa said.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris