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January 21, 2019

Garissa prepares for imminent drought

Man supplies water to camels on the outskirts of Garissa town on Monday /STEPHEN ASTARIKO
Man supplies water to camels on the outskirts of Garissa town on Monday /STEPHEN ASTARIKO

The provision of water to minimise the effects of drought in Garissa featured prominently at a meeting called yesterday to discuss how to tackle the dry season.

The county received poor rains last month. Officials and leaders in attendance said many water pans have dried up and called for specific interventions to avert the loss of life.

County secretary Abdi Sheikh, who convened the meeting, said they were working closely with the national government to ensure proper coordination and effective response to the looming drought.

“This time round we want to plan ahead and put all the necessary remedial measures that will include, but not limited to, buying off livestock before they are wiped out by the drought and save the farmers from the huge losses they experienced in 2016,” Sheikh said.

Water executive Issa Oyow said water trucking to the worst-hit areas has started.

In 2016, the region suffered severe drought, largely blamed on poor planning by the national and county governments as well as support agencies.

National Drought Management Authority and the Kenya Red Cross officers also attended.

The team recommended surveillance on livestock and human diseases, among other measures.

National Drought Management Authority county coordinator Abdinoor Dubow said the drought situation is in the “alert phase”.

Dubow said: “We’re witnessing a deterioration in forage and water. This is a clear indication that drought could be looming. The earlier we prepare, the better.”

In the past, disputes over pasture and water have led to bloody clashes among communities.

Dubow said residents should learn from conflicts and prepare to co-exist peacefully.

Kenya Livestock Marketing Council vice-chairperson Dubay Amey was concerned that pastoralists will not take their herds to Boni forest due to the ongoing security operations.

And those resident near the Isiolo border will also not relocate to the western region because of border-related conflicts, he said.

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