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Famine looms as drought bites in Marsabit

National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) has sounded an alarm over the drought situation in Marsabit County.
According to a report by NDMA, thousands of residents in all the seven sub-counties of Moyale, North Horr, Loiyangalani, Laisamis, Marsabit North, Sololo and Marsabit Central are facing starvation and are in urgent need of relief food.
Consequently, the authority has called for urgent appropriate measures to save residents from starving.
NDMA communications officer for Marsabit County John Ougo described the drought situation in the region as serious and called for interventions without delay.
Mr. Ougo cautioned that the condition was expected to become worse in the coming two weeks adding that the prolonged dry weather has depleted pasture and water resources in virtually all grazing areas.
Livestock is the main source of livelihood for the local pastoralist communities.
Data collected by the authority established that the food security situation, pasture quality and quantity had waned.
“The body condition of animals is also on the decline with herders migrating with their livestock apart from camels in search of pasture leaving behind the elderly, children and women,” the report states.
However, 95 percent of 110 boreholes across the county were operational but water yields in shallow wells have pointedly declined while 90 percent of water pans have dried up.
The report states that the nutritional status of children below the age of five years is stable but could deteriorate if the predicted drop in food intake continued.
Marsabit Central sub-county alone has about 45,000 residents in its 11 locations in dire need of food aid.
Area Deputy County Commissioner Joseph Nyakwara described the situation as bad adding that the government was making arrangements to avail complementary relief food to the affected.
NDMA County Coordinator Golicha Guyo said the authority would keep the residents informed about the drought situation and on how best they could cope with it.
Mr. Guyo urged for collaborated effort from the national and county governments and other agencies in cushioning the residents against the effects of drought.
The county is among the five counties which the meteorological department projected would experience severe dry a spell from March. Others included Garissa, Isiolo, Mandera and Wajir.
By Sebastian Miriti

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