LONG DRY SPELLS

12 counties on drought alert, situation will worsen

July to November will be the most devastating months, assistance needed

In Summary

• According to UN, an estimated two million people in ASAL counties are in need of assistance, the figure is likely to rise as the situation worsens. 

• The proportion of children at risk of malnutrition is already above average in Embu, Taita Taveta, Makueni, Narok, Kjiado, Meru and Nyeri counties. 

Water CEC Abdi Omar makes his contribution during a special meeting of the Garissa county steering group to deliberate on drought mitigation measures and response.
LONG DRY SPELLS: Water CEC Abdi Omar makes his contribution during a special meeting of the Garissa county steering group to deliberate on drought mitigation measures and response.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

The National Drought Management Authority has warned that the drought situation will worsen between July to November.

The July Early Warning Bulletin released this week indicated 12 counties are in the alert drought phase.

They are Lamu, Kitui, Garissa, Isiolo, Kilifi, Laikipia, Makueni, Mandera, Samburu, Tana River, Wajir and Marsabit.

Baringo, Embu, Narok, Taita Taveta, Tharaka Nithi, West Pokot, Turkana, Kajiado, Meru, Nyeri and Kwale counties are reported to be in the normal drought phase.

“The drought will have negative consequences for household's food security, crop and livestock production, access to water, nutrition of children, and local coping strategies,” the report states.

Most ASAL counties received less than 50 per cent of average rainfall.

Some parts of Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Tana River and Turkana received less than 25 per cent of average rainfall during June.

“By the and of June, Marsabit, Garissa, Isiolo, Tana River, Wajir, and Kilifi counties were experiencing vegetation deficit. Isiolo had the most severe vegetation deficit,” NDMA says.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization said Kenya’s drought response plan requires  Sh9.4 billion for July through November.

Sh5.8 billion is for food and safety net support and Sh3.6 billion for non-food interventions.

The early warning bulletin indicated that during the month under review, 14 counties reported a worsening trend.

The counties are Kajiado, Meru, Nyeri, Kwale, Garissa, Isiolo, Kilifi, Laikipia, Makueni, Mandera, Samburu, Tana River, Wajir and Marsabit.

Baringo, Embu, Narok, Taita Taveta, Tharaka Nithi, West Pokot, Turkana and Kitui counties recorded a stable trend while Lamu county reported an improvement.

“The worsening trend across most of ASAL counties is a result of poor rains received during the March-May long rains season,” the bulletin stated.

The authority recommends providing food assistance and increasing cash transfers targeting food-insecure households.

It also calls for providing livestock feed and supplements and treatment and vaccination against emerging livestock diseases.

It further recommends commercial destocking to salvage pastoralists against imminent losses with the expected progression of the dry spell.

FAO seeks Sh1.5 billion for pastoral and agro-pastoral households to curb effects of the drought.

It also aims to strengthen the capacity of the National Drought Management Authority for effective implementation of the early warning system.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)