The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) has raised a concern over the worsening drought situation in the country, with seven counties at the drought alarm stage.
A press statement released Sunday indicates that the rapidly worsening drought was due to the four consecutive poor rainy seasons that have negatively impacted on crop production and livestock body conditions.
Counties categorised at alarm drought phase include Isiolo, Mandera, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, Marsabit and Laikipia.
“Decline in livestock prices, increase in cereal prices and the general increase in prices of most consumer goods continues to undermine the purchasing power of households, exacerbating food insecurity in ASAL counties,” said NDMA CEO, Hared Hassan.
The CEO pointed out that the number of those in need of urgent food aid is projected to increase to about 4.35 million people by October this year from 3.5 million in May and 4.1 million in July.
He reveals that malnutrition has also been observed across the Arid and Semi-Arid (ASALs) counties with 884,646 malnutrition cases of children aged 6-59 months. Some 115,725 pregnant and lactating women are also said to be severely malnourished and in need of treatment.
“This has been aggravated by a decline in milk production. The milk production is on a worsening trend as compared to the month of July in most of the counties,” said the CEO.
In Laikipia County the government in conjunction with Kenya Red Cross Society recently slaughtered 1216 cattle through livestock offtake programme and gave out several bags of rice and beans to cushion the vulnerable households in the region.
The CEO further said the government has disbursed over Sh3.23 billion under the Inua Jamii cash transfers to 402,098 beneficiaries in the ASALs, while the Ministry of Education spent Sh2.2 billion for school feeding programme targeting 851,987 learners in 2,855 schools.
By Muturi Mwangi