- Kenya has experienced the most severe drought between 2020 and 2022, leading to loss of livelihoods, displacements, and diseases.
- In a separate interview, Turkwel chief Titus Koloi said 11 people had died in the location due to starvation, caused by drought.
Kenyan Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has said that no life was lost despite a long drought in the country.
He spoke on September 28, 2023, while meeting Cabinet Secretaries, Governors, and disaster management agencies to address Kenya's preparedness ahead of El Nino rains.
“We are so proud that we did not lose a single life despite having the worst drought in 40 years. I want to say pongezi (congratulation),” he said.
How true is the DP’s statement?
Kenya has experienced the most severe drought between 2020 and 2022, leading to loss of livelihoods, displacements, and diseases.
The ASAL regions (Arid and Semi-Arid Land) have endured the condition. The regions are Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Turkana, Samburu, and West Pokot among others.
In March, Martin Lokeyen, assistant Chief of Turkwel Location in Loima Sub County, Turkana County told The Star, Kenya Journalist that six people were reported to have died due to ravaging hunger caused by the prolonged drought.
“Recently, I was informed that people are dying. People of Muruese have been ravaged by hunger and as a result, a woman died and the husband was about to die,” he said.
When asked if he had visited the families in the said village to confirm the same, Lokeyen said he took the initiative and visited the families to affirm that they had not died of other diseases but had been ravaged by hunger.
“The drought is devastating and if I don't give the information to the world, government, and humanitarian agencies, no one would know the real situation and people will continue to die,” he said in March 2023.
He noted that children, women, and the elderly were the most affected.
In a separate interview, Turkwel chief Titus Koloi said 11 people had died in the location due to starvation, caused by drought.
However, Turkana county executive for Disaster Management David Longiro denied the claims of 11 deaths, saying only two death cases had been confirmed.
Speaking to the Star on the phone, Peter Ondiko, a representative from Kenya Red Cross said the organization could not confirm nor deny the reports of deaths as a result of drought as it is not its mandate.
“Our mandate is to provide relief for the people who needed relief and the country came together for the help of those who were being affected by the worst drought, nothing less, nothing more.”
A report released by Relief Web Response, however, indicated that drought increased the risk of diseases and deaths, which led to extreme consequences for the health of affected communities.
It noted that due to the Cholera outbreak that was declared in Kiambu County in October 2022, it spread to other counties, including the ASAL region which affected roughly 2,000 people, and 31 people died by the end of 2022.
“Nearly 5 million people did not have access to enough water for drinking, cooking and cleaning, with specific consequences for women and girls, who often compromised their own needs including menstrual hygiene to provide for their families. Women and girls also faced heightened risks during childbirth due to lack of access to clean water and increased home deliveries,” the report stated.
The true position is, lives were lost during the prolonged drought in Kenya between 2020 - 2022, contrary to DP’s statement.
This fact check was published by The Star, Kenya, with technical support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck newsdesk, through the African Fact-Checking Alliance (AFCA).