Pastoralists from Garissa County are migrating in search of water and pasture as the drought situation in the area worsens.
According to the Garissa County Coordinator of National Drought Management Authority Mohamed Keinan, the drought in Garissa County continues to adversely affect pastoralist residents and their livestock.
Speaking to the Nation.co.ke, Dr Keinan said that the alarming situation is at a ‘red alert’ phase of drought causing residents to migrate to other areas.
The “red alert” warning is the third highest level of risk from drought issued in the pastoral areas of Dujis, Modogashe, Balambala, Dadaab and Liboi.
Dr Keinan however noted the situation has not yet reached the emergency stage as so far there are no deaths of humans or livestock reported from the county.
“Drought is continuous in this part of the country and the only thing that changes is the phase.
We are at the third phase of drought alert.
Water pumps and boreholes have dried up forcing many residents in water stressed areas like Dadaab, Modogashe, Fafi to move over 10 kilometres in search of water and pasture for livestock,” he said.
Water shortage, he noted, remains a problem that needs urgent response.
From 30 litres of normal consumption of the pastoralist lifestyle, he said, pastoralists are now consuming as low as 10 litres a day.
Meanwhile, Dr Keinan said his office is liasing with the county government to do water trucking for those in hard hit areas.
“Water resources are dwindling fast.
Pastoralists have been moving for the past one month to permanent water areas like Tana River, Balambala sub-county and some areas in Dadaab with permanent water boreholes but we are trucking water to help save lives as we await the rains,” he said.
Further, Dr Keinan revealed that milk production has greatly reduced forcing households to rely on powdered milk and those who cannot afford go for days without food.
“Milk production in quite a number of households before the alert phase of drought was about three litres as they highly depend on livestock.
But, they are now consuming about 0.5 litres or even none,” Dr Keinan said.
However, he was quick to add that the national government together with affected county governments is stepping up efforts to curb food insecurity.
Currently, he said, the food aid provided by the national government is reaching over 81,000 persons in the county on a monthly basis under the national food programme.
“We have done an assessment with the Kenya Food Security steering group and reports have already been shared by all relevant stakeholders and we hope that the escalating drought will be contained soonest possible,” Dr Keinan said.
The region which was only recovering from flood related losses estimated at about Sh1.2 billion currently has about 30 per cent of its residents caught up in the emergent drought.
The alert comes after the World Bank issued an alert report of an impending drought that might sweep through several African countries, including Kenya.
The ‘Africa’s Purse’ report released in Abuja, Nigeria stated a terrible drought will ravage several African countries between now and 2018.