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UNICEF pledges to support drought intervention 

UNICEF has promised to mobilize resources for resilience programmes in the wake of the current drought facing Turkana County.

A total of 23 counties in the Arid and Semi-Arid areas are facing a serious drought due to failed rains.

The organization has at the same time asked the county government to strengthen coordination structures of development organizations to ensure better impact and avoid duplication of efforts in drought response.

This emerged during a meeting between top county government officials and a delegation from UNICEF held on Monday in Lodwar where they discussed key issues among them partnership in promoting education, water, sanitation and hygiene.

Governor Jeremiah Lomurukai and the UNICEF team led by Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Mohamed Fall also discussed ways of promoting child protection, health and nutrition.

Fall said that Turkana and regions in the rest of the horn of Africa were faced with a severe drought which was affecting over 10 million children in the region.

Lomorukai commended UNICEF for the continued support and stated his readiness to improve cooperation with partner organizations to address challenges faced by residents and contribute to development of the county.

He said the organization was a long-term partner in the county and acknowledged the great input by the agency in Turkana.

He said Turkana was facing drought and called for support from UNICEF and other partner organizations, through provision of services such as supply of water and cash transfer programme to communities affected.

“We need urgent and serious aid from development partners and UN agencies to support communities affected by drought who have lost livestock. In Turkana South and East residents face danger of banditry and have to struggle against cattle rustling and the drought,” he said.

The Governor added that County Government emergency response had been affected by delays in disbursement of funds by the national government.

Fall said that global attention was needed to respond to the effects of the severe drought in the continent, with vulnerable communities still recovering from effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Regional Director acknowledged the high malnutrition rates, water scarcity caused by the drought, conditions that had contributed to high rate of school dropout and early marriages.

He said UNICEF will work to renew its commitment to help identify needs of targeted community, to tailor programmes better to build their resilience to future shocks.

In the meeting were County Executives Vincent Palor (Water Services) and George Emoru (Health and Sanitation); Chief Officer for Health Dr. Malcolm Lochodo, Directors Dr. Gilchrist Lokoel (Medical Services) and Dr. Joseph Epem (Lodwar County Referral Hospital).

By Peter Gitonga

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