- Reports indicate that the drought situation remains critical in 22 of the 23 Asal counties.
- According to the lawmakers, residents in the regions ravaged by drought have been pushed to the brink of famine and starvation.
Several Senators have raised an alarm over the worsening drought raving parts of the country and called for the declaration of the situation as a national disaster to enhance resource mobilisation.
The 14 lawmakers for the Arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) want the government to reassess the situation and design a proper response to save millions of Kenyans affected by the drought.
“The drought has led to the loss of nearly 70 per cent of livestock for lack of pasture and water. The fate of the remaining livestock is scary and if nothing is done, will soon be wiped out by drought,” they said.
Reports indicate that the drought situation remains critical in 22 of the 23 Asal counties.
About 5.5 million people have been affected.
Led by Mandera Senator Ali Roba, the leaders said it is only the declaration of drought as a national disaster that will trigger non-state actors and other well-wishers to help affected populations.
“Given the fact that Kenya was declared a middle-income country, donors and other non-state actors are not willing to respond to the drought crisis unless the government declares the drought a national disaster,” they said in a statement.
The Senators included Ledama Olekina (Narok), Steve Lelegwe (Samburu), Kanar Seki (Kajiado), Mohamed Chute (Marsabit), James Lomenen (Turkana) and Abass Mohamed (Wajir).
Others are Miriam Omar (nominated), Peris Tobiko (nominated), William Kisang (Elgeyo Marakwet), Hezena Lemaletian (nominated), Joseph Gathuku (Lamu), Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi) and Danson Mungatana (Tana River).
According to the lawmakers, residents in the regions ravaged by drought have been pushed to the brink of famine and starvation.
“Despite public pronouncements for assistance to drought-affected counties, that assistance has not been commensurate with the severity of the situation on the ground,” they said.
“Government relief food distribution and livestock off-take programs were a welcome relief. However, their impact in addressing the crisis has been inadequate.”
As such, they want the government to do a fresh assessment of the situation across all the affected counties for better response.
“We, therefore, call on the government to immediately carry out an emergency assessment simultaneously in all affected counties to design practical and appropriate response strategies and plans to save lives of the affected populations in Asal regions,” they said.
The leaders also asked the government to urgently supply sufficient relief food to affected populations in line with the UN standard portions per head per household.
They said the little or occasional food distribution from the government is extremely insufficient to save lives.
“Further we ask the government to come up with proper mitigation measures to ensure no lives are lost due to famine and starvation,” the senators said.