DROUGHT ALLEVIATION

UK gives Sh2.6 billion towards drought mitigation in Horn of Africa

Almost a million people across East Africa will be supported in response to drought

In Summary
  • Kenya will receive Sh155 million for urgent, life-saving nutritional assistance to 26,000 children in those areas worst impacted by drought, including Kilifi County.
  • Ford said in spite of Kenya’s work on preparedness to tackle drought, the scale of the challenge has adversely impacted people living in its arid and semi-arid lands.
Women pulling jerry cans in Dambas, Wajir West subcounty.
Women pulling jerry cans in Dambas, Wajir West subcounty.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO
Naomi Kaingu packs meat from a cattle that died due to hunger to go and try her luck by selling the meat at Sh50 or Sh100 in Ngite area Ganze constituency
Naomi Kaingu packs meat from a cattle that died due to hunger to go and try her luck by selling the meat at Sh50 or Sh100 in Ngite area Ganze constituency
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

The UK government has funded drought mitigation measures to support at least one million residents in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan.  

UK Minister for Africa Vicky Ford announced a Sh2.6 billion support to countries in the Horn of Africa affected by extreme drought and flooding.

Ford made the announcement during her visit to the region that started in Kenya.

Ford said the fund will help almost a million people in the region, who are facing the worst drought in decades.

People in South Sudan are facing widespread flooding for a third consecutive year.

Kenya will receive Sh155 million for urgent, life-saving nutritional assistance to 26,000 children in areas worst impacted by drought, including Kilifi county.

According to the January National Drought Early Warning Bulletin released by the National Drought Management Authority, 11 counties are in the alert drought phase.

They are Embu, Meru (Northern area), Nyeri (Kieni), Taita Taveta, Tana River, Tharaka Nithi, Laikipia, Baringo, Kajiado, Narok and Samburu

Makueni and West Pokot are in the normal drought phase.

Garissa, Kilifi, Lamu, Wajir, Isiolo, Kwale, Mandera, Marsabit and Turkana are at an alarm phase. Kitui recorded the recovery phase.

“During the month under review, eleven counties — Embu (Mbeere), Meru (North), Nyeri (Kieni), Taita Taveta, Tana River, Tharaka Nithi, Garissa, Kilifi, Lamu, Wajir and Kitui reported an improving trend. Makueni and Laikipia counties recorded stable trend," the authority said. 

While West Pokot, Baringo Kajiado Narok, Samburu, Isiolo, Kwale Mandera, Marsabit and Turkana counties reported a worsening trend, the deteriorating display is as a result of poor rains received during this season,” NDMA said.

Ford said in spite of Kenya’s work on preparedness to tackle drought, the scale of the challenge has adversely impacted people living in arid and semi-arid lands.

“The UK is, therefore, increasing its support in some of those areas, in partnership with the government of Kenya. For countries in East of Africa, climate change is not a future problem – it is driving a humanitarian emergency right now,” she said.

“Catastrophic droughts and floods, paired with ongoing conflicts and poor governance in Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia, are creating a perfect storm in East of Africa which risks pushing hundreds of thousands  into famine,” she said.

Ford added that extreme weather events associated with climate change are worsening pre-existing drought and flood cycles and ruining harvests.

These, in addition to poor governance and ongoing conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia, are exacerbating the impact by displacing vulnerable communities, destroying livelihoods and limiting access to humanitarian assistance.