The European Union (EU) Policy Officer for Sustainable Agri-Food Systems and Fisheries international partnerships Nick Goetschalckx has lauded the collaboration between the two levels of government in addressing the current drought situation in Makueni County.
Mr. Goetschalckx, particularly noted the efforts made through the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) in coordinating relevant departments in government and development partners in ensuring the neediest people benefitted from the mitigation measures taken by the government.
“The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) has been considered as a case study in the United Nations (UN) and in other international meetings on drought, due to its well-coordinated operations in fighting the scourge,” said Goetschalckx who led an EU delegation in touring Makueni County to assess EU funded drought risk management interventions on Tuesday.
The Officer was accompanied by the Programme Manager – EU delegation Nairobi, Kenya Mr. Alain Castermans, and NDMA Finance and Procurement Advisor during the tour.
The delegation visited Mbasya Dam in Mbooni Sub County, a borehole at Kalawa market receiving fuel subsidy from the EU and also witnessed the ongoing mass screening of children aged 5 years and below at Kasooni market.
On his part, the EU Programme Manager (PM) expressed satisfaction at Mbasya earth dam serving 5,000 residents saying this was due to the good collaboration existing between NDMA, county government and the local community.
“In some areas donor funded projects breakdown after two years and are no longer used, but it’s impressive to see this dam still having water despite poor rainfall in the last three seasons and how it’s managed by the local community,” said Castermans.
The 91,000 cubic meters earth dam was conceived after a participatory process where the community gave a proposal for water support through the NDMA with EU funding of Sh19 million, County Government of Makueni Sh 3 million and the community Sh 2 million respectively.
The water kiosk at Kalawa serves 4,000 residents to access clean water. The bore hole was constructed by the Red Cross, World Vision and the County Government of Makueni.
Earlier, the delegation paid a courtesy call on the Makueni County Commissioner (CC) Beverly Opwora in her Wote office.
Ms Opwora disclosed that the prolonged drought in the county has impacted negatively on various sectors like education, health and disrupted peace especially due to human wildlife conflict in Kibwezi Sub County.
“The prolonged dry spell has led to children absenteeism in schools, malnutrition among children, human/wildlife conflict in areas bordering the national parks of Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Chyulu especially in Kibwezi Sub County,” noted the administrator.
“Water pans have run dry forcing animals to encroach into human settlements areas in search of the scarce commodity,” she added.
However, Opwora assured wananchi that nobody will die of hunger as the government was in the process of providing food while noting that development partners like World Vision and Action Aid were providing food relief in some of the most affected areas.
On his part, the NDMA County Drought Coordinator Mr. Daniel Mbuvi disclosed that 246,913 residents were in need of food relief which has been aggravated by the failed rains in the last four seasons.
Mbuvi also said that NDMA has supported Ngomeni earth dam that is ongoing at cost of Sh21.9 million, Ikungu pipeline extension at a cost of Sh2.8 million and a similar project at Ulu micro Project Sh2.4 million in Mukaa Sub County.
“To mitigate the effects of the prolonged poor rainfall, NDMA funded by EU has supported the residents in construction of medium sized earth dams, repair and provision of fuel subsidy to strategic bore holes, extension of water pipelines and provision of drought pellets for livestock,” said Mbuvi.
By Patrick Nyakundi