Millions of Kenyans are staring at starvation as drought continues to bite
NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyans are staring at a calamity as over 4.3 million of its citizens are facing starvation due to the prolonged drought. This is according to National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) report that indicates that millions do not have access to drinking water and food.
In its report dubbed National Drought Early Warning Bulletin "We are witnessing a worsening households food security situation has resulted in acute malnutrition rates noted across the counties, with 942,000 cases of children aged 6–59 months acutely malnourished and 134,000 cases of pregnant or lactating women acutely malnourished in need of treatment."
The state agency is now calling for immediate action to save the lives of the 4.3 million Kenyans. Its Bulletin report cites that the situation is getting worse every single day. The weatherman –Meteorological Department of Kenya forecast showed there will be little rain in October, November, and December (OND). This will push more people into starvation hence sparking insecurity and the spread of diseases.
Bulletin Report "The drought situation continued to worsen in 20 of the 23 ASAL counties after failing four consecutive seasons, with the forecast for OND predicting the likelihood of a fifth season underperforming."
During the month under review, three counties reported an improving trend, three counties recorded a stable trend, and 17 counties reported a worsening trend.
NDMA Bulletin report further indicates that there is low purchasing power in households and also the drought has forced families to trek kilometers to access clean drinking water.
"In the counties of Baringo, Embu, Kwale, Laikipia, Makueni, Narok, Samburu, West Pokot, Marsabit, and Nyeri, the price of maize was on an improving trend in the month under review, while eight registered stable prices, as the remaining five counties showed worsening prices compared to the previous month."
The vegetation condition in August 2022 was worse compared to the same period in August 2021.
The highly affected counties are Isiolo, Mandera, Samburu, Kajiado, Tharaka Nithi, Turkana, Wajir, Laikipia, Tana River, and Marsabit.
Whereas NDMA also reports that 10 counties are under alarm, they are namely; Embu, Garissa, Kitui, Makueni, Meru, Narok, Nyeri, Taita
The state agency said the fair-to-poor condition is a result of the poor performance of the 2022 long rain season, accompanied by early cessation, which resulted in little or no regeneration of pasture and browses that had a direct impact on livestock body condition.
"An analysis of the August 2022 monthly rainfall indicates that several parts of the Asal counties experienced near to below-average rainfall (less than 60mm of rainfall).NDMA report said.
The Pastoral North Eastern (PNE) counties, which include Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Tana River, and parts of Garissa, received rainfall of between 10mm and 20mm.
While the South Eastern Agricultural (Sema) counties, which are Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Kajiado, Meru, Makueni, and Kitui counties, received very little rainfall in the range of 20mm-60mm.
The Coast Marginal Agriculture (CMA) counties of Kwale, Kilifi, and Lamu counties received between 10 mm and 40 mm, which are below.
NDMA Bulletin report "Some parts of the Agro-Pastoral cluster, Baringo and West Pokot received July-August rainfall that was normal to above normal in the range of 80mm-200mm of rainfall totals, with some areas, especially Pokot South, receiving very high rainfall totals of 200mm."
The rainfall forecast for October and December (OND) will be below-average and, at most levels, highly depressed in various parts of the country.
"The 2022 index indicates low values of vegetation in the counties of Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo, Wajir, Kajiado, Garissa, and Tana River," NDMA report states.
However, the NDMA report said that August 2022 saw a slight improvement in vegetation conditions in the coastal marginal agriculture counties of Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, and Taita Taveta, as well as parts of the Tana River's southeast marginal agriculture counties of Mandera, Wajir, and Turkana.
The improvement is associated with the off-season showers of the June-July-August season of 2022.
The state agency also indicates that the pasture and browse in most of the arid and semi-arid counties were generally in fair to poor conditions.
"The current pasture and browse conditions are below normal as compared to normal years, with no improvement realized when compared to the previous month due to the failed rainfall season, which led to little regeneration of pasture and browses," NDMA report concludes.