Kajiado Governor, Joseph ole Lenku, has appealed to the National Government to step in and provide relief food and water, to cushion residents from the effects of the on-going drought.
Lenku revealed that most parts of the County have been affected severely, following prolonged drought last year and failed short rains in April this year, with many residents now staring at starvation.
He said many pastoralists had lost their animals due to lack of pasture and water and called on the government to intervene and assist through water trucking to avert a hunger crisis.
“Only a few parts of the County received short rains. Many areas have been affected by drought and our people are in dire need of relief food and water for their animals. I appeal to the National Government to intervene immediately to avert a looming hunger crisis,” Lenku said.
The Governor appealed to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), to allow pastoralists graze their livestock in the national parks, to save them from being routed by the disaster.
Lenku who spoke in Enkorika, Kajiado Central, said wild animals have for years been grazing in community land out of the national parks and it was a high time KWS allowed livestock to graze in the parks, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.
“I want to urge KWS to allow herders graze their animals in national parks, to save them. Our community for a long time has lived peacefully with wild animals and KWS should also allow livestock to graze in the parks. KWS guards should not harass or beat the herders for grazing their animals in the parks,” Lenku added.
Kajiado County is among the 17 of 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties in Kenya, where residents face starvation, as drought continues to bite.
According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), 3.5 million people in ASAL counties are facing imminent starvation, following prolonged drought and poor performance of the short rains.
Eight counties namely, Wajir, Marsabit, Mandera , Isiolo, Baringo, Laikipia, Turkana and Samburu are in the alarm phase of drought.
Other nine counties including Garissa, Tana River, Kwale, Kilifi, Kitui, Lamu, Meru (North), Nyeri (Kieni) and West Pokot are in the Alert drought phase.
NDMA further reveals that around 3.1 million people require immediate food assistance. The number is an increase from 2.8 million in December 2021.
By Rop Janet