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Governors to find long-term solutions to the ravaging drought

Governors from the Frontier Counties have resolved to have a concerted long-term effort to deal with the cyclic drought ravaging the counties and to immediately upscale budgetary provisions to respond to this phenomenon with the situation being dire in most of these counties.

In a communique read by the Marsabit County Governor Mohammad Ali, the governors said the counties had lost over 80 per cent of their livestock which is the major source of livelihood, leaving thousands of people in dire need of food, water and feeds for the few remaining livestock.

Mr Ali however said although the situation is grim, the governors from the region have not confirmed any deaths of human beings as earlier reported in some sections of the media.

He was speaking at the close of a two – day Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) Governors’ Summit in Naivasha.

The meeting was also attended by development partners such as; the British High Commission and the REINVENT Programme, the Swiss Embassy, World Bank and the United Nations (UN) among others.

The ASAL Humanitarian Network (AHN) report released last month states the current drought in ASAL counties which extends as far back as 2020, has been the most severe and longest with widespread livelihood loses and massive displacement of populations.

It states that currently, more than 4.2 million people representing 24 per cent of the ASAL population are facing high levels of acute food insecurity with about 2.7 million people in the Crisis phase and 785,000 people in the Emergency state. The report shows more than 2.4 million livestock, which pastoralist families rely upon for nourishment and livelihood have since died due to the drought.

On the issue of the Equalisation Fund (EF) which was meant to accelerate development in the FCDC Counties and bring them at par with other counties, the governors voiced concern that the disbursement has been delayed severely, slow implementation and encroachment by extended membership to the FCDC further thinning the efforts to boost the economies of these counties.

“We are opposed to the move to increase the number of counties to benefit from the Equalisation Fund as this will overstretch this meagre fund,” Mr Ali said adding that the FCDC Counties are the new frontier for the whole of Kenya in terms of energy and food and the counties are open and happy to contribute to the strengthening of the country’s economy.

On the issue of peace and security which has been a thorn in the flesh in the frontier counties, the Council resolved to work with all the relevant stakeholders to collectively deal with inter and intra-county conflicts.

“The Council is committed to bringing peace to the region and will work closely to end cross-border conflicts to ensure harmonious living amongst our residents, beneficial cross-county trade, and organised grazing plans,” Ali said.

The meeting was also attended by governors from; Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Garissa, Lamu, Samburu, Isiolo and West Pokot counties.

By Mabel Keya Shikuku

 

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