State scales up drought response as livestock continues to die

ASALS CS says government has released an additional Sh2 billion to secure relief food distribution for affected counties.

In Summary
  • •National Drought Management Authority is in the process of dispatching 60,480 bags (50kgs) of livestock feed supplements worth Sh145 million.
  • The feed will be dispatched to Kitui, Makueni, Kajiado, Marsabit, Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir and Nyeri counties. 
A young boy with a donkey cart in the outskirts of Habaswein town in Wajir South.
DROUGHT CRISIS: A young boy with a donkey cart in the outskirts of Habaswein town in Wajir South.
Image: FILE

The government has scaled up drought response interventions to mitigate impacts of the deteriorating drought situation.

Asals and Regional Development CS Rebecca Miano said the government has released an additional Sh2 billion to secure relief food distribution to the affected counties and procurement is ongoing.

Miano said priority interventions under the ministry are distribution of relief food, improving access to water and provision of livestock feed supplements.

She said the National Drought Management Authority is providing livestock feed supplements and implementing water-related interventions with funding from the National Drought Emergency Fund and the European Union.

“Cumulative effects of previous successive below-average rainfall seasons have led to depletion of pasture and browse in most ASAL (arid and semi-arid lands) counties, which has resulted to poor body condition of livestock and widespread mortalities," she said. 

"The ministry, through the NDMA, is in the process of dispatching 60,480 bags (50kgs) of livestock feed supplements worth Sh145 million to eight Asal counties. We have already dispatched feed to Kitui, Makueni, Kajiado, Marsabit and Isiolo and finalising logistics for dispatch to Mandera, Wajir and Nyeri counties.”

Miano said that the intervention is aimed at complementing actions by other partners to avert more livestock deaths.

The livestock feed supplements (drought pellets) distributed by the NDMA are specially formulated and a 50kg bag feeds a cow for 25 days and a sheep or goat for 100 days.

The feed targets livestock left behind as the larger herds migrate in search of pasture and water.

These herds provide milk for families, which contribute significantly to the nutrition status of vulnerable groups such as children below five years and pregnant and lactating women.

Additionally, in the initial phase of interventions in the water sector, NDMA has supported water trucking, provision of water tanks, provision of fuel subsidy to strategic boreholes and repair and rehabilitation of water.

“The prolonged drought has limited access to water. For instance, more than 60 per cent of open water sources have dried up while rivers flows are below 40 per cent of normal. Moreover, there is frequent breakdown of boreholes due to increased demand. This support will ensure communities have access to water as the drought persists,” the CS said.

“I reiterate the call by H.E the President (William Ruto) and appeal to our development partners, the private sector and other well-wishers to support us to bridge the resource gap for the scale-up of immediate life-saving interventions aimed at cushioning lives and livelihoods.” 

The CS said the Ministry, through the NDMA, is monitoring the drought situation closely to inform drought response requirements by the stakeholders involved.

Complementary interventions are underway in different government ministries and departments even as the government works towards building long-term resilience.

Asals and Regional Development PS Idris Dokota said they are reviewing gaps identified in the implementation of first phase of the Ending Drought Emergencies Strategy to inform the second phase that begins this year.

“This is aimed at ensuring a common and coordinated approach to long-term resilience building and development of the Asals,” Dokota said.

Findings of an assessment of the impact of the 2022 short rains on the food and nutrition security situation in the country revealed that an estimated six million people in 32 counties are facing acute food insecurity and/or acute malnutrition.

This includes 4.4 million people in the 23 Asal counties facing acute food insecurity and additional 0.5 million in nine non-Asal counties, as well as 970,000 children below five years and 142,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers requiring urgent life-saving treatment for malnutrition.

This week, the Igad Climate Prediction and Applications Centre predicted below-normal rainfall in most parts of the Greater Horn of Africa during the March to May long rains season.

In Kenya, this would be the sixth consecutive below-average rainfall season since the October to December 2020 rains and it could worsen the severity of food insecurity.

Igad executive secretary Workneh Gebeyehu called for immediate scaling-up of humanitarian and risk reduction efforts.

Gebeyehu said "national governments, humanitarian and development actors must adopt a no-regret approach before it’s too late."

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