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NDMA releases report on drought situation

Drought conditions being experienced in Turkana County will continue, with vegetation and livestock conditions deteriorating.

The county is at an alarm stage with the pastoral areas being classified as being at an emergency stage with worsening trends.

Livestock migration was also observed towards the peripheries with livestock deaths attributed to starvation or dehydration being reported across most areas.

Consequently, the County Chief Officer for Economic Planning Jeremiah Apalia, said over 640,000 people in the county are affected by drought.

According to the drought early warning bulletin released by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) for the last six months, dry and hot weather conditions dominated across all parts of the county during the period under review.

Consequently, the aggregate rainfall for the six-month period spanning from October 2021 to March 2022 accounted for only 27 percent of the normal rainfall for the period, the report states.

At the same time, the condition of vegetation deteriorated significantly across most sites in the county and in all sub-counties during that period.

The report further indicated that the majority of the sites remained water stressed following the drying up of over 90 percent of open water sources, breakdown of boreholes and increased depth of traditional river wells.

The three main water sources in use by residents of the three livelihood zones during the month under review were shallow wells, boreholes and traditional river wells.

The report further stated that body condition for all livestock species was generally poor and on a deteriorating trend, while household/livestock access distance to water source increased albeit slightly. All the sites reported nil milk production and thus milk consumption.

Proportion of under-fives classified as ‘severely or moderately malnourished’ increased with households applying more severe consumption and insurance based coping strategies in March.

Additionally, approximately 48 percent of households were categorized as having a poor Food consumption score with the Pastoral livelihood zones presenting the highest proportion of 50.8 percent.

The terms of trade declined further and were significantly lower than the long-term average.

Other counties affected by drought include Baringo, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Wajir, Kilifi, Lamu, Nyeri, West Pokot, Laikipia and Garissa, which are in the alarming drought stage.

The situation is also deteriorating in Makueni, Taita Taveta and Tana River, while for Embu, Kajiado and Narok, the situation is stable. Meru and Tharaka Nithi are in the alert stage, while the situation is improving in Kitui and Kwale counties.

A food and nutrition security assessment conducted in January by NDMA also found that more than 600,000 children are acutely malnourished.

By Peter Gitonga

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