WORSENING

Wajir pulls Sh200 million from departments to tackle drought

Over 300,000 people have been affected with 150,000 children malnourished

In Summary

• The money is from the first supplementary budget proposal for this financial year.

• “The situation is degenerating beyond the means of the county and as such we appeal for urgent support from the state, non state actors and well wishers,” Mukhtar said.

Wajir Governor Ahmed Mukhtar [C] speaking to the press on Monday while flanked by humanitarians officials from Nabil Al-Terkait, a Kuwait-based Direct Aid Organisation.
DROUGHT MITIGATION: Wajir Governor Ahmed Mukhtar [C] speaking to the press on Monday while flanked by humanitarians officials from Nabil Al-Terkait, a Kuwait-based Direct Aid Organisation.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Wajir county has mopped up over Sh200 million from departments to handle the devastating effects of drought.

The money is from the first supplementary budget proposal for this financial year.

Speaking to the press in his office on Monday, Wajir Governor Ahmed Mukhtar urged the county assembly to prioritise its approval.

“We are indeed living in extra ordinary times which call for extra ordinary measures to save the situation that is fast degenerating into a full time crisis. The lives and livelihood of our people are at a greater risk,” Mukhtar said.

Camels and donkeys drink water in Buna, Wajir North.
WATER SCARCITY: Camels and donkeys drink water in Buna, Wajir North.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

The country is experiencing severe drought in Baringo, Garissa, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir counties.

Experts have likened the current drought to the great famine of 2011, characterised by the growing humanitarian needs arising from the drying up of water sources and depletion of pasture.

The governor was flanked by humanitarian officials from Nabil Al-Terkait, a Kuwait-based Direct Aid Organisation.

They said animals are now dying in numbers and there are fears that we may encounter human deaths.

The drought authority says 300,000 people have been affected by drought with more than 150,000 children malnourished.

Goats relaxing at a shade with nothing to eat from a barren land in Habaswein, Wajir.
DEPLETED PASTURE: Goats relaxing at a shade with nothing to eat from a barren land in Habaswein, Wajir.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

“The situation is now degenerating beyond the means of the county government and as such we appeal for urgent support from the national government, non state actors and well wishers,” Mukhtar said.

The county wants assistance of hybrid food aid, cash transfers, water trucking and fuel subsidy for the strategic boreholes.

Other areas are upscaling of nutrition mass screening and integrated outreaches, special nutrition for children under the age of five, lactating mothers and the aged and provision of livestock feeds.

While making a call for international support, President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 8 declared the drought a national disaster.

Later on, the UN flash appeal on drought response was launched in Wajir county on September 30.

The appeal targeted Sh15.7 billion between October and December to complement governments’ efforts towards restoration of livelihoods, health, nutrition and wash interventions for hardest hit counties.

A donkey carrying water in Habaswein town, Wajir south.
RAVAGING DROUGHT: A donkey carrying water in Habaswein town, Wajir south.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Mukhtar said together with the state and partners they will continue to support affected persons through the provision of water, fast moving spare parts and fuel subsidy for the strategic boreholes, relief food as well as animal feeds.

Last week, the Kenya livestock Marketing council chairman Dubat Amey said access to water is an urgent concern for both humans and livestock and called for concerted effort to address it.

He said main water sources across all the livelihood zones are boreholes, shallow wells and water trucking which have dried up.

“The distance to water sources has increased. The depletion of browse and pasture has led pastoralists to migrate in search of forage,” Dubat said.

There is high concentration at the boreholes since all the water pans have dried up.

"The concentration causes frequent boreholes breakdown and that is why we want to see water bowsers dispatched,” he said.

Poor water sanitation and hygiene practices puts residents at risk of diarrhoeal diseases.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)