IGAD appeals for Sh730bn to provide relief food to starving millions

Artan says recovery after drought for pastoral communities is always the most challenging

In Summary

•Kenya with 3.5 million in dire need of humanitarian assistance, is set to benefit from $180.7 million out of the kitty.

•Public Service CS Prof Margaret Kobia says 1.6 million livestock have died.

Carcasses of animals in Liboi, Dadaab.
Carcasses of animals in Liboi, Dadaab.

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development region has hit 40.4 million.

Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Eriteria and South Sudan are members of IGAD.

IGAD estimates that 3.5 million in Kenya, 8.1 million people in Ethiopia, 7.7 million in Somalia, 8.9 million in South Sudan, 10.6 million in Sudan, and 1.6 million in Uganda are food insecure.

On Friday, a high-level ministerial meeting on the drought, led by IGAD executive secretary Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, took place in Nairobi.

Gebeyehu appealed for $6.3 billion (approximately Sh730,485,000,000) to address the drought situation in the region. 

Djibouti’s needs $40 million, Ethiopia $960 million, Kenya $180.7 million, Somalia $1.8 billion, South Sudan $1.7 billion, Sudan $1.6 billion and Uganda $6.7 million.

Unlike in 2011-12 where 71 per cent of the funding appeal was fulfilled, the funding situation this time is reversed with a substantial shortfall of 75 per cent.

Of the $6.3 billion that has been requested, only $1.6 billion has been mobilised. This means there is a deficit of $4.7 billion.

Labour and Social Protection CAS Abdul Bahari represented Public Service CS Margaret Kobia at the meeting.

Kobia said 1.6 million livestock have died.

The CS said the Kenyan government has provided more than Sh8.7 billion for interventions in livestock, water, health and nutrition, social protection and drought coordination.

IGAD’s Climate and Applications Centre director Dr Guleid Artan said recovery after drought for pastoral communities is always the most challenging aspect of the entire scenario.

It takes on average five years to build livestock back from one episode of drought, he said.

"So, imagine the situation these people find themselves in after four consecutive failed seasons? No one anywhere in the world can prepare for this,” Artan said.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has said the ongoing rains are expected to cease anytime beginning this week.

It said the March-May rain season would be poor given most areas did not get even half their normal average rainfall.

This means food production is largely expected to dwindle as most farmers rely on rain-fed agriculture.

“Analysis of March-May 2022 seasonal rainfall indicates that all meteorological stations in the country have received depressed rainfall,” head of the meteorological department Stella Aura said in the monthly forecast for May. 

“By April 28, the highest amount of 396.7mm (55.7 per cent of March-May long term mean) was recorded in Kisii station. This was followed by Embu.”

Lower Eastern will be the first to go dry, followed by other parts of the country within the next two weeks.  Only Western Kenya and Coast regions are expected to experience rainfall in June.

Aura said Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Machakos, Tana River and Taita Taveta will go dry this week.

Kenya Red Cross Society head of Disaster Management Dr Michael Aiyabei told the Star on Sunday the situation is likely to deteriorate further. “The depressed rains will worsen the situation.” 

Aiyabei said 1.5 million livestock have been lost.

He said more livestock is likely to be lost as a result of flash floods that might be witnessed because some are too weak while others will not withhold temperature changes.

Aiyabei said cases of malnourished children has increased by 15.6 per cent from 652,960 in August 2021. 

“There has been an increased resource-based conflict leading to 207 fatalities, 119 injuries and 2,764 household displacements,” he said.

Aiyabei said the society has distributed food to 43,342 households and cash transfers to 21,482 households.

He said health outreaches have been done in seven counties while animal off-take of 500 sheep and goats has been carried out in Kwale.

Aiyabei said urgent needs include nutrition support for 350,000 children under five and 50,000 pregnant and lactating mothers.

He said there is a need to rehabilitate 46 water facilities in 11 counties and water purification materials for 37,000 households.

Animal off-take programmes should be undertaken in 13 counties, Aiyabei said.

In January, the World Food Programme launched an appeal for $327 million (about Sh37.8 billion) to reach 4.5 million people affected.

The amount was meant to scale up assistance and save lives in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

Dunford said WFP will need to support up to 7.5 million people for the next six months at a cost of $473 million (about Sh54.7 billion).

WFP is now in the process of revising its numbers.

Drought in Kenya has plunged 23 counties into a crisis, which the government has declared a national disaster.

Counties reeling from the effects of drought include Kwale, Lamu, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Turkana, Samburu and West Pokot.

Others are Baringo, Kajiado, Narok, Laikipia, Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Makueni, Kitui, Marsabit, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera.

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