Livestock farmers in Kieni Sub-County could soon be facing a pasture and water crisis, following the migration of over 17,000 livestock from the neighbouring Isiolo and Laikipia counties.
A drought survey released by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), shows that about 12,000 heads of cattle and 5,000 goats and sheep, have been driven into the County and are currently stationed in Kieni East and Kieni West Sub-counties.
The Authority now warns that due to the influx, the available pasture will only last a month.
“The County has continued to play host to several herds of cattle and flocks of sheep and goats, which migrated into the County. Some of the areas where these livestock are located include Naro Moru, Mount Kenya Forest, Karichen, Gatuanyaga in Gakawa and Lusoi in Thegu Ward, with the highest numbers being reported in Gakawa Ward,” says the Report.
According to the NDMA, an estimated 2.6 million livestock deaths have been reported in the Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) counties.
The most affected counties with above- normal livestock mortality rates include; Marsabit, Kajiado, Isiolo, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir and Mandera. Nyeri has recorded 500 livestock deaths so far.
Aside from the depleting livestock feed, the Authority has also warned of dwindling water supply.
The Authority say that most of the open water sources will be depleted in the coming weeks, which could see water suppliers resort to rationing the commodity.
“Water rationing by the various water projects will intensify and households relying on piped water, will experience water shortage and increased cost of water,” says the Report.
The Central Region National Drought Management Coordinator, Lordman Lekalkul, said that at least 200,000 persons in Nyeri County, are still in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
According to Lekalkul, areas worst hit by the drought include; Kieni East, Kieni West, Mathira East and Mathira West.
Nationally, NDMA estimates that 4.35 million people spread across 23 arid and semi-arid areas, require humanitarian assistance.
By Wangari Mwangi and Samuel Maina