Residents of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera on Monday congregated at different open grounds and held special prayers for rain as drought and water shortage continued to bite in the region.
During the ceremony traditionally referred to as ‘Special Prayers’ for rain (salat al-‘istisqa) to seek intercession from Allah (God), religious and political leaders met at the open grounds to ask for God’s favour.
Speaking at Orahey grounds during the occasion, religious leaders led by North-Eastern Region Coordinator Adan Yunis said that they had sought God’s favour to open the clouds and shower the region and others that were experiencing suppressed rain.
“The fact is drought affects people and livestock and effects are there for everyone, as we speak our people who are mostly livestock keepers have lost a huge chunk of their animals pushing them deeper into poverty,” Yunis said.
“It is for this reason that we have decided to gather and perform a special prayer, that Allah may intervene and help us,” he added
In Garissa Sheikh Hassan Mahat led hundreds of faithful in the prayers at Garissa Primary School playgrounds.
Addressing the gathering, Sheikh Mahat urged the faithful to continue praying to God for rain noting it is only the Almighty who can do that.
“This is beyond all of us. What we can do as human beings is to continue praying to the Almighty Allah to shower us with His blessings like he has done before. The drought we are experiencing is one of the worst and its effects are being felt across the region,” Mahat said.
Mahat noted that the last three months have seen pasture depleted and diminishing water levels while several boreholes have broken down due to growing demand.
The situation has seen most pastoralists move far and wide, including to neighbouring countries, in search of water and pasture. The animals’ health has also deteriorated affecting their market prices.
The National Drought Management Authority has already issued an alert over the deterioration in livestock body condition and milk production.
In its September report, the authority said that forage and water sources are depleting by the day due to the failed October-December rainfall.
The meteorological department has already issued an alert that there will be suppressed rain between October and December.
Two weeks ago, State department of Arid and Semi-Arid lands Principal Secretary Micah Powon while speaking in Wajir said the government, with the help of other state and non-state actors, is working to cushion the affected families by providing relief food, livestock feeds as well as water trucking.
By Erick Kyalo