The devastating drought in Mandera has reached unprecedented levels of alarming state with more than 400 000 households severely affected by the ravaging drought in Mandera County.
An estimated 200,000 people are experiencing severe food insecurity while around 100,000 children are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of 2022.
Acute food insecurity has drastically worsened since the beginning of 2022 with an estimated 200,000 people already experiencing worse situations.
A good number of households sleep on empty stomachs as the day goes by, Mohamed Hassan, a resident, says adding that they are staring at a catastrophe.
The affected households lack basic needs like food and water and the lucky ones get one meal a day.
Addressing the media at the county headquarters, Mandera Governor Mohamed Adan Khalif raised concerns on the ongoing water shortage, food insecurity, malnutrition, limited pastures and reduced livestock prices.
He said the county is staring at a bleak future and appealed to the national government for speedy help to the affected population across the country.
“We want to call upon the national government to declare drought a national disaster”.
The county chief added that despite bearing the tag of pastoral community, a considerable number of livestock is lost daily due to starvation and drought related diseases.
The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) local office warned that if the rains expected in September fails, the county will be in a crisis.
Mr. Hussein Aretho, the County Drought Coordinator for NDMA, acknowledges that some herders have left Mandera and fled to neighboring counties in search for pasture and water for their livestock.
“Some of the pastoralists have fled to far flung areas in search for pasture. It is sad that some have to bear with this and we need to step as to offset this trend”.
He added that more interventions are needed before the county reaches its emergency state.
Whereas projections were not produced for 2023, persistent drought is expected to worsen in the coming future.
As disaster looms, urgent and timely scaling up of integrated humanitarian assistance (in-kind of food, cash/voucher transfers, nutrition, WASH, and health-related) is required in the early phase of December 2022 and likely through March 2023.
In order to cushion residents from the impact of drought, Mandera County non-state actors like Nomadic Assistant For Peace and Development lined up a series of initiatives including water projects in most of the hard-hit wards like Banisa and Ashabito.
The County Deputy Director for water Abdi Abdille, thanked the non-state actors for bettering the lives of the residents.
The 60,000 litre water tank and two water kiosks fitted with eight taps will go a long way in curbing the drought menace but residents were warned against complacency as more necessary interventions is needed.
The number of people facing crisis hunger levels in Mandera County is expected to rise from 400,000 to more than 500,000 in the coming months – exacerbated by the effects of climate change, and rising cost of living.
The worst hit areas include Mandera East, Arabia, Lafey, Banisa and parts of Mandera West and Mandera South.
By Jabir Mohamed