REASON TO WORRY

2.6m Kenyans among Africans going to bed hungry, Igad told

Pastoralists move to other countries in search of water and pasture, often leading to conflicts

In Summary

• One of the biggest threats to pastoralists is their vulnerability to climate shocks 

• Kenya hosts 470,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Somalia, South Sudan, DRC and Ethiopia

An elderly woman eats packed Ugali as she waits for relief food donated by Pokot professionals at Chesitet in Tiaty Sub-county, Baringo County on February 4, 2017. Over 10,000 Pokots are facing starvation.
An elderly woman eats packed Ugali as she waits for relief food donated by Pokot professionals at Chesitet in Tiaty Sub-county, Baringo County on February 4, 2017. Over 10,000 Pokots are facing starvation.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO

Kenya is one of the Horn of African countries without guaranteed food security.

Already, 2.6 million Kenyans are food insecure and experts warn that the situation could get worse.

Yesterday, the National Drought Management Authority acknowledged the challenge during this year's Intergovernmental Authority on Development(Igad) resilience share meeting.

 

NDMA is mandated to establish mechanisms which ensure that drought does not result in emergencies and that the impacts of climate change are sufficiently mitigated.

Its director of technical services, Orre Sunya, said vulnerability to climate shocks remained one of the biggest threats to pastoralists.

"Some 600,000 are malnourished," Sunya said.

Sunya, who represented James Oduor, said the country and donors had put mitigating systems in place.

"The impact of malnutrition in development is known," he said in reference to the malnourished. 

The talks were attended by Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.

Kenya hosts over 470,000 refugees and asylum seekers, 257,000 of them from Somalia, 115,000 from South Sudan, 41,000 from the DRC and 28,000 from Ethiopia.

Forty-four per cent lives in the Dadaab refugee camp, Garissa,  and 40 per cent in Kakuma camp, Turkana.

Access to basic necessities including food, shelter, water and sanitation in camps is often precarious. The refugees depend on humanitarian food assistance.

Pastoralists move to other countries in search of water and pasture, often leading to conflicts.

The worst affected counties are Baringo, Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir.

Famine Early Warning Systems Network has predicted worsening drought, severe hunger and crop failures of up to 30 per cent in parts of the region in the coming months.

Families will be unable to cope due to deteriorating conditions.

Igad's drought resilience and sustainable livelihoods project monitoring and evaluation expert Hillary Ng'eno said several projects in arid and semi-arid areas had been rolled out.

They include a Sh5.4 billion project funded jointly by government and African Development Fund. It targets Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Samburu, Isiolo and Marsabit.

"We have built 112 water structures and we currently have two irrigation schemes-one in Marsabit for fodder and another one in Baringo for horticulture," Ng'eno said.

The projects have reduced conflicts, he said.