- Even though the pasture situation in some counties has slightly improved, the vegetation is not expected to last long.
- Several wards in the said counties are in need of emergency food interventions due to depressed rainfall received.
The government has flagged various areas in some non-Asal counties where residents are facing hunger due to the ongoing drought.
They include Kirinyaga, Kiambu, Machakos, Nakuru, Murang'a, Elgeyo Marakwet, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori.
The Ministry of EAC, Asals and Regional Development on Wednesday said several wards in those counties are in need of emergency food interventions due to depressed rainfall received.
They include Gathigiri and Kiriti wards in Kirinyaga county, Kalimoni, Mugutha and Witeithie wards in Kiambu county, Kalama and Kola in Machakos county, Giligil, Mogotio and Hellsgate in Nakuru county and Mugumo, Kanyenyaini and Rwathia in Murang’a county.
“These counties received depressed rains and thus the environmental indicators are outside normal ranges for the wards that require immediate drought interventions and so this time round we have seen counties that are not ordinarily Asal counties affected by the drought but in specific wards,” CS Rebecca Miano said.
The CS noted that at least 4.35 million Kenyans are in dire need of relief food as the drought continues to bite while 960,000 children are severely malnourished.
Miano said the drought situation remains critical in 22 of the 23 Asal counties due to poor rains through October to December when the short rains season usually appears.
Nine counties have been mapped by the government as being in alarm drought phase. They include Kilifi, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, Isiolo and Kajiado.
Thirteen counties of Garissa, Lamu, Narok, Tana River, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, Baringo, Laikipia, Meru, Taita Taveta, West Pokot, Nyeri and Kwale have been mapped as being in alert drought phase.
“The drought situation in Taita Taveta, Kwale, Garissa and Tana River improved slightly due to light showers received during the last week of December. However, Baringo and West Pokot counties have slid from normal to ‘alert’ drought phase,” the CS said.
The worsening drought situation has been due to poor rains through October to December when the short rains season usually appears, marking the fifth consecutive failed rain season.
Last year, President William Ruto formed a private sector led national steering committee on drought response to mobilise resources to compliment government efforts to mitigate the prevailing drought situation.
The committee was able to distribute relief food to 14,300 households in five counties of Kilifi, Kitui, Samburu, Marsabit and Meru.
The relief assistance according to the CS, targeted 2,860 households in the worst affected subcounties of Magarini, Mwingi North, Samburu East, Moyale and Igembe North.
The CS announced that a multi-agency assessment is being conducted to ascertain the impact of the 2022 short rains season on food security.
The assessment which is being coordinated through the National Drought Management Authority, is expected to inform the scale of interventions the government will take to mitigate the drought in the country.
Currently, the government has undertaken a raft of drought mitigation and response measures geared towards cushioning the most vulnerable in the affected counties.
This includes distribution of relief food, cash transfers, screening and treatment for malnutrition, water trucking of livestock feeds and livestock off-take.
According to the NMDA CEO Hared Hassan, the government has spent close to Sh1.4 billion on the livestock off-take programme as an intervention to avert the loss of livestock.
“The government has spent about Sh1.4 billion in terms of onsite slaughter where farmers sell the animals through Kenya Meat Commission; the animals are slaughtered and given to the farmers as well as the money,” he said.
He added, “There is also the commercial off-take where the KMC buys the livestock from the farmers and it is processed, packaged and given back to the community mostly schools.”
According to the CS, the vegetation condition in some counties has continued to deteriorate with the worst hit counties being Marsabit, Wajir and Isiolo.
She said even though the pasture situation in some counties has slightly improved, the vegetation is not expected to last long due to migration and a high concentration of livestock in grazing areas.
-Edited by SKanyara