50% OF POPULATION

Over 600,000 at risk as drought ravages Turkana

Some 4,193,462 goats and sheep could starve, devastating livelihoods.

In Summary

• Turkana Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro said the entire county is affected by drought and hunger. 

• Turkana has not received rainfall since August last year.

Akiru Ekai, a resident of Liwani in Turkana North, waters her donkeys at Napus water pan.
Akiru Ekai, a resident of Liwani in Turkana North, waters her donkeys at Napus water pan.
Image: HESBORN ETYANG

More than 600,000 people are at risk of starvation due to drought in Turkana, the county administration has said. 

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro said the entire county is affected by drought and hunger. Turkana has not received rainfall since August last year.

Lotethiro said 50 per cent of the population (about 640,000 people) are facing starvation as the drought persists. 

In March, the Turkana government began distributing relief food worth Sh419 million to the families affected by famine. 

Governor Josphat Nanok said the drive was meant to cushion residents affected by the drought.

He said Kibish, Turkana North and Turkana East were first targeted, but the drive would be extended to Turkana Central and other areas.

“Relief food distribution is ongoing to the affected families. We are also facing the challenge of water scarcity. Water pans and boreholes have dried up or have been overused, leading the water table to go down,” he said.

He said the county is collaborating with partners to ensure that areas where water sources have dried up or were destroyed, get water through trucking or repair of the destroyed ones.

A carcase of a cow in drought-hit Liwani village, Lapur ward, Turkana.
A carcase of a cow in drought-hit Liwani village, Lapur ward, Turkana.
Image: HESBORN ETYANG

Meanwhile, the county Department of Livestock Production has said 4,193,462 goats and sheep are at risk because of the drought. 

Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries executive Philip Aemun on Tuesday chaired a stakeholders meeting in Lodwar to discuss drought mitigation.

Officials from county departments and non-governmental organisations attended the meeting.

“Drought effects have progressively worsened as the county experienced delayed onset of March-April-May rains. Generally, the whole county is at alarm phase, except for some pockets in the agro-pastoral livelihood zones that seem to exhibit the alert phase indicators though rapidly worsening,” the report states.

Aemun said the county will distribute supplementary feeds and slaughter livestock for off-take to help pastoralists from suffering losses. 

He said he intends to mobilise financial resources from the county budget as well as source support from other willing partners. 

They will procure about 400 tonnes of supplementary feeds to target 4,000 households and 100,000 sheep and goats countywide.

Acting director of Livestock Production Bobby Ewoi said about 5,000 sheep and goats will be slaughtered and owners paid Sh4,000 each. Some 2,500 households will benefit. 

Aemun said that the drought had forced herders to migrate to new areas in search of water and pasture, making them vulnerable to both diseases, hunger and security risk.

Lakezone, Kaeris, Kaaleng/Kaikor and Lapur Wards in Turkana North, as well as Kerio, Kalokol and Kangathota areas in Turkana Central are the most affected regions.

The report states that Kalapata and Lokichar in Turkana South and Katilia and Kochodin areas in Turkana East require urgent intervention.

Other regions are worst hit are Loima and Lopur wards in Loima and Turkana West Subcounties respectively.

 

 

(edited by o. owino)