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Leaders in Kitui decry biting drought 

Leaders in Kitui County has expressed concern over the prevailing drought in the county and called for urgent food aid and supply of water to increasing number of victims affected by the drought.

The leaders, while speaking on Thursday during a County Drought Committee (CDC) meeting held in Mwingi town, lamented that the drought situation is threatening lives and livelihoods and had already slowed down the economic growth, therefore resulting to high poverty levels among residents.

The CDC meeting which was convened by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), and co-chaired by the County Commissioner Erastus Mbui and Deputy Governor Augustine Kanani on behalf of the Governor Dr. Julius Malombe, regretted that reports on effects of the drought at the county were shocking and noted that there was need for urgent intervention to avert possible loss of lives.

Scores of the committee members drawn from different local actors presented their respective reports on the alarming effects of drought and climate change in the county.

In a statement delivered by his deputy, Malombe lamented that the drought has prevailed for a long time across the country and its effects are increasing in intensity and scale.

“Currently we are experiencing one of the worst drought episodes in the country, which has triggered death of cattle and wildlife. In Kitui County, for instance, we have had drought in every three to four years and an extreme one in every five to six years,” reads part of the Governor’s statement.

“Kitui County is characterized by a rapidly growing population, water scarcity, falling food production and low resilience to climate change. The combined effects of climate change and rapid population growth are increasing food insecurity, environmental degradation and poverty levels in the county,” added the Governor.

“Access to clean water is very low, as the commodity in almost surface sources does not last for an entire season thus forcing the residents to trek long distances in search of clean water for their daily use. Often, people and livestock share the few available water sources, leading to contamination and high chances and cases of water-borne diseases,” the Governor pointed out.

The County Chief regretted that climate change had exacerbated effects of drought to the communities, further eroding the gains in development by the government and development partners.

“Kitui County is known to receive little and unreliable amounts of rainfall and as a result many rivers have dried up, including dams and boreholes leaving the residents suffering. Inadequate food production, sicknesses and dirty environments have resulted due to this plague called drought,” observed Malombe.

Malombe said there is need for more coordinated mechanisms to address the drought effects at the county, national and global levels. “Drought being a slow onset disaster can be mitigated with timely measures, albeit with concerted efforts by all stakeholders in terms of sensitization, investment, monitoring and response whenever necessary,” he added.

Others present at the function included the County NDMA Coordinator Francis Koma, County Executive Committee Member (CECMS) among them Dr. Stephen Kimwele Mbaya (Agriculture and Livestock), Ruth Koki (Health and sanitation) and Phoebe Ndungu Mutemi (Culture, Gender, Youth, ICT, Sports and Social Services), Education Director Madam Rosaline Njiru and Representatives of NGOs, Civil society groups and the Clergy.

By Denson Mututo and Glory Ndanu


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