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Four million livestock at risk of starvation due to drought

 A total of four million livestock are facing starvation due to drought, according to a report from the county department of Livestock Production.

County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun said the report from the department that included other stakeholders indicate that approximately 4,193,462 goats and sheep are at risk of being affected by the prolonged drought being experienced in the county.

Aemun on Wednesday chaired a stakeholders meeting that brought together officials from different County departments and their colleagues from Non-Governmental organizations in Lodwar.

The meeting was convened to discuss measures and strategies of resource mobilization to intervene on the ravaging drought effects that have a negative impact to source of livelihoods to the people in the county.

“Drought effects have progressively worsened as the county experience delayed onset of March-April-May rains. Generally, the whole county is at “alarm” phase, except for some pockets in the agro pastoral livelihood zones that seem to exhibit the “alert” phase indicators though rapidly worsening,” the report says.

Aemun described the drought situation as alarming, noting that the County Government is planning to have supplementary feeds and slaughter off-take that will help pastoralists cushion their animals against effects of drought.

On the directorate of Livestock Production, Aemun said he intends to mobilize financial resources from its budget as well as source support from other partners to procure about 400 tonnes of supplementary feeds.

Acting Director for Livestock Production Bobby Ewoi said that other planned interventions include slaughter off-take or destocking of approximately 5,000 goats and sheep that each will cost Sh 4,000 to benefit 2,500 households that rear the animals.

While acknowledging past partners’ intervention support on mitigating disasters, Aemun regretted that the prolonged drought had forced herders to migrate to new areas in search of water and pasture, making them vulnerable to both diseases, hunger and security risk.

County Chief Officer for Fisheries, Livestock and Veterinary Services Abdullahi Yusuf and Directors Dr. Benson Longor (Veterinary Services) and Charles Ekai (Resource Mobilization) attended the brief meeting that was held in adherence to the Ministry of Health regulation on Covid-19.

Lakezone, Kaeris, Kaaleng/Kaikor and Lapur Wards in Turkana North as well as Kerio, Kalokol and Kangathota areas in Turkana Central have been identified by stakeholders as some of most affected. The report also adds Kalapata and Lokichar in Turkana South and Katilia and Kochodin areas in Turkana East in the list of areas that require urgent intervention.

Loima and Lopur Wards have also been earmarked as drought hard-hit areas in Loima and Turkana West Sub-counties respectively.

By Peter Gitonga

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