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Drought in Turkana at Alarm Stage

Turkana Governor, Josphat Nanok, has announced that the County is in an alarm stage of drought, adding that his administration in collaboration with partners has come up with interventions to contain the situation from deteriorating further.

Addressing the media about the situation of drought in the County at his office, Monday, Nanok noted that the drought had greatly affected the Lake Zone area from Todonyang in Turkana North up to Kalapata in Turkana South.

“The effects are much more felt along the lake zone area along the shores of Lake Turkana from Todonyang to Kalapata, that is Kalokol area, Kangatotha, Kerio all the way to Kalapata,” Nanok said.

Governor Nanok assured residents of Turkana that the situation is manageable and added that his administration will take charge to prevent further deterioration that could lead to famine and loss of lives.

He said the County Government on October 11th flagged off 2,500 metric tonnes of food commodities, targeting about 640,000 persons in Turkana North to Kalokol and Kangatotha Wards down to Kalapata.

“We have been able to reach 240,000 persons with the intervention so far with the relief food, we will continue in the next one or two weeks, covering the rest of Turkana,” said Nanok.

The County Boss said the National Government is dispatching relief food which he hoped will arrive soon, adding that the highly affected areas will receive a higher ratio than the less affected.

Alongside the relief, Nanok said the County Government has continued with efforts to support farmers with seeds and tools, as a way of preparedness as they anticipate rains soon.

The seeds distributed are for the short term crops including cowpeas, water melon and spinach.

Nanok said the biting effects of the drought were slowed down by the recent short rains experienced in some parts of the County which made vegetation to regenerate while it was deteriorating in other parts which received no rain at all.

The Governor said the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), had already made a requisition of 50,000 bags of livestock feeds for animals in the critically affected areas with no pasture.

He acknowledged that, the County had not reported any case of livestock deaths but the income from livestock had gone down due to the low quality occasioned by the effects of drought.

“In rural areas the price of a goat has come down from about Sh4, 000 to Sh2, 500. In terms of grain value to exchange a goat, they are trading now at 34 kilograms from the initial 50 kilograms of grain, the price in the market has gone down,” he said.

“The cost of food basket has increased by a quarter in Turkana, not only affecting the rural communities, but also urban dwellers,” added Nanok.

He also said the County Government has increased interventions on water, noting that the County Water Technical team, has been on high alert to repair and maintain any broken down boreholes and water piping systems.

Additionally, he commended the efforts of NDMA, Kenya Red Cross and other partners, in providing Cash Transfer to help vulnerable households have access to resources such as food and other essentials.

“The Kenya Red Cross had recently mobilized resources for  a three months period to provide Cash Transfer targeting 5,303 households each earning Sh5,067 monthly, this is a huge boost to the existing support by the NDMA, which currently supports about 39,000 households through the Hunger Safety Net Program (HSNP), each earning  Sh5,400 in two months,” said Nanok.

“Other partners including the Adventist Development and Relief Agency Kenya (ADRA) is coming up with Cash Transfer program targeting 1,000 households in the highly affected areas of Kalokol and Kerio Wards in which each person will get Sh6,600 monthly,” he added.

He also said his administration was working closely with the World Food Program (WFP) to provide supplementary feeding to the vulnerable groups in the communities.

Nanok further said his government in collaboration with Ministry of Health, has increased disease surveillance across the County and its borders to diagnose and treat any diseases which my pose further threat to the residents, who are currently weakened by the effects of drought.

In regard to peace interventions, Governor Nanok said his administration is keen to ensure peace in the County and across its borders with the neighbouring countries.

“Very recently I hosted the Governor of East and Equatorial State of South Sudan, Louis Lobong, to discuss about the LAPSSET Corridor and in particular the controversial Bridge between Nadapal in Kenya and Nadapal in South Sudan. We agreed for the same to be constructed, this would promote trade between the two countries,” said Nanok.

By Ekuwam Sylvester

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