Number of counties in the drought warning phase rises to 10

The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) announced on Friday that the drought situation in Laikipia, Tana River, and Tharaka Nithi counties has reached the alarm level, bringing the total number of counties in this phase to ten.

The three counties have joined Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Turkana, Wajir, Samburu, and Marsabit. According to the NDMA, another ten counties are in the Alert drought phase, including Embu, Garissa, Kitui, Makueni, Meru (North), Narok, Nyeri (Kieni), Taita Taveta, Kwale, and Kilifi.

Three more counties, Baringo, West Pokot, and Lamu, are in the Normal drought phase, owing to moderate off-season precipitation.

According to the NDMA, the number of Kenyans in need of emergency food aid is expected to rise to around 4.35 million between October and December.

“The worsening household food security situation has resulted in increased malnutrition across the ASALs, with 942,000 children below five years and 134,000 pregnant or lactating women requiring treatment for acute malnutrition. This is an increase from 884,464 children and 115,725
pregnant women reported last month,” NDMA says.

The forecast for the October to November short rains season, according to NDMA CEO Hared Hassan, shows below-average performance, and hence calls for a concerted anticipatory effort by major drought risk management players.

“Through the support of the European Union, the NDMA is providing fuel subsidy for strategic boreholes in dry season grazing areas where thousands of livestock have migrated. This support is crucial and will ease the burden for livestock owners,” Hassan said.

The NDMA is also providing spare parts for strategic boreholes, which are frequently breaking down due to the fact that most are running 24 hours a day to satisfy increased water demand.

Hassan also said NDMA has also given more than 40,000 50 kg bags of specially formulated livestock feed supplements to seven counties, including Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo, Wajir, Kajiado, Tana River, and Mandera, to cushion vulnerable communities’ livelihoods.

“During the last financial year, the Government disbursed Ksh 4 billion to beneficiaries under the Hunger Safety Net Programme, which is implemented by the NDMA, and a further Ksh 3.45 billion for emergency relief. Another Ksh 950 million was spent on livestock offtake while Ksh 446 million was used in water response activities,” NDMA said.

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