The government through the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and the European Union has stepped up drought mitigation measures to cater for the livestock in the drought hit areas through provision of animal pellets.
Garissa County has received a total of 5,600 50kg -bags of pellets, which will be distributed in 5 most affected sub counties to 2,800 households and is expected to supplement at least 14,500 livestock.
Speaking during the flagging off of the animal feeds in Garissa, NDMA CEO Col (Rtd) Hared Adan said that the government has reviewed the drought coordination process to bring up synergy and avoid duplication of services by the actors.
The coordination will now be done through the county steering group, which is co-chaired by the governors and county commissioners, bringing together all relevant government institutions, NGOs and donors.
“In order to assess the impact of the response, the county steering committees has created monitoring teams, which will be visiting the areas where mitigation measures are undertaken so that we know the progress,” Adan said.
“The government has up-scaled the drought mitigations by providing the animal pellets for the weak livestock that have been left behind as others were taken to other areas to look for pasture and water. Last week, the government released food relief to all the affected counties and we are also looking at the health and nutrition sectors,” he added.
Garissa County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich said that at least 332,000 people in Garissa are already affected by drought and that the number is likely to rise to over 400,000 if the rainy season is delayed.
Cherutich however said that the government is doing the livestock offtake programme in the county through the Kenya Meat Commission by buying local livestock to feed the residents.
“Already the KMC and the Kenya Red cross have bought 891 cows at a price of Sh15,000 each and Sh10,065 goats at Sh3,000 each. A total of Sh43 million was used on the programme to help the farmers to pay school fees for the children and afford their daily upkeep,” Cherutich said.
“We are also targeting over 25,000 livestock for another offtake phase with the same prices so that households can have money to help themselves. We are calling on the farmers to come forward and register with the NDMA,” he added.
The County Commissioner assured the residents that the government through the steering committee will continue with water tracking, repair broken boreholes and drill at least 10 new boreholes in most affected areas.
He noted that plans are also underway to reach the children who have dropped out of school due to drought and appealed to all NGOs and donors in the county to prioritize the school feeding program so that children can be cushioned.
“We are highly appealing to our business people and the private sector who have been touched by the sorry state of our people to extend their generosity towards this course either in form of water trucks, foodstuffs and cash, we will appreciate anything that can alleviate this situation,” Cherutich said.
By Erick Kyalo