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Governor takes frontline position in drought mitigation fight

Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi has vowed to lead the fight to mitigate the impact of recurrent drought related crises in the County.

Speaking at Wajir National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) hall during a special county steering group meeting on the drought situation, the Governor highlighted measures put in place to address the situation.

According to the Governor, recurrent drought was escalating famine with more and more people being affected each year.

He attributed the high frequency of the drought to global warming which does not allow time for recovery in between droughts thus increasing vulnerability of the local population.

“Wajir is currently experiencing severe drought as a result of cumulative failure of both short rains in 2018 and long rains of 2019 with a population of about 207,400 people being affected,” said the Governor.

“The rains were depressed in most of the sub counties especially parts of Wajir South, West and Eldas where pans have not been filled with water and the small ones have dried. This has led to long distance trekking of already weak animals with no pastures,” he added.

The situation is currently the same in the other three sub counties of Tarbaj, Wajir East and North as a result of immigration which swept the little pasture and water in those areas.

Long rain food security assessments done between July 8 and 19, 2019 shows severe vegetation deficit, depletion of pastures and browsers and drying of all water pans.

There is overconcentration of livestock on major boreholes which has led to frequent breakdowns.

According to the food security assessment, the county is in alarm phase with severe food and water shortages coupled with frequent bush fires which destroyed the pasture.

Animal and human disease outbreaks and recurrent resource–based clan conflicts lead to food insecurity.

According to county nutrition reports, the Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate is 16 percent which is at crisis level as far as children with malnutrition are concerned.

“On behalf of the County Government, I thank all organisations that have so far made interventions under the very effective coordination of NDMA and the County Department of Special programmes,” the Governor said.

The Governor noted that the county government in collaboration with partners had made interventions which include distribution of Emergency Food Aid to the affected population.

“The County department of special programmes has distributed food to 15, 000 households across the 30 wards in the months of April and June 2019 to cushion them from the effects of the drought,” he observed.

“There has also been water trucking to 115 centres through hire of 36 and repair of the county owned 16 water bowsers so as to reach as many needy populations as possible. Another measure has been the preposition of nutritional commodities to all health facilities,” added the Governor.

In addition, Governor Abdi said, NDMA has provided 8, 400 bags of animal feeds distributed in four sub counties with the other two sub counties set to benefit soon.

Other measures include enhancing of livestock vaccination involving NDMA and the department of Agriculture which has vaccinated 250, 000 sheep and goats against Pestes Des Petit Ruminants (PPR).

“There has also been purchase of school meals for early learners as well as distribution of sh82 million to 11, 000 school and college learners”, said the Governor.

In addition, he added, there has been an upscale of cash transfer by NDMA targeting 19, 201 and 14, 707 households respectively.

The NDMA has also provided fast moving spare parts to two strategic boreholes within the county, the Governor revealed.

“The County government and the national Governments through NDMA share the understanding that the interventions made are commendable but more has to be mobilized so as to save more property and lives that are getting more susceptible to drought every day,” the Governor said.

By Donald Ngala

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