Hundreds of desperate residents of Lagdera in Garissa County are on the verge of starvation and have appealed for assistance from the national government and well-wishers as the current drought worsens.
Speaking to Nation.co.ke on Thursday, the victims, especially women and children, told of their suffering and anguish as they are forced to walk more than 50 kilometres to look for water for drinking and domestic use.
While many of the pastoralists have moved to places where they can easily access the scarce commodity, others have been left in despair as they have to stay behind to looks after their children who are in school or take care of the elderly.
Siman Hussein, 43, a mother of three from Geylab Village, told the Nation that many villagers have moved with their camels, cows, goats and sheep to far-flung areas such as Baraki, Madina, Gurufa, Shantaq and Dertu.
“Nobody has come to our assistance, either the county or national government.
“I was left behind because my children are in school but most of the time I don’t get time to be with them since I’m away looking for water as far as Modogashe,” she said.
WELLS, STREAMS DRY
Only a few villages in Modogashe have dug wells while streams that locals rely on have dried up and the little water remaining is dirty.
Mrs Hussein said sometimes she and her colleagues are forced to spend nights scoping the little water remaining in wells for their families and emaciated animals.
Noor Mohamed of Faryar Village said hundreds of people are on the verge of starvation and they need urgent help from the government and the international community.
“We need water and food. Almost every household has lost a good number of livestock,” he told the Nation.
CHILDREN DROP OUT OF SCHOOL
Schoolchildren are also affected as, according to Ibrahim Rashid Odowa, the Lagdera deputy sub-county education officer, enrolment has sharply declined since many of the learners have moved with their parents in search of water.
Nation.co.ke spotted some children rolling jerrycans of water and villagers said they assist their parents during the dry spell.
Mr Rashid said education officials have established mobile schools that follow the pastoralists.
Womankind Kenya’s children protection officer Hassan Ismail decried the government’s silence on the crisis, describing the drought as “pathetic”.
He demanded immediate food and water assistance for the residents.
“The situation is pathetic and it is unfortunate that the government remains silent on the state of affairs of these people. Immediate help must be [provided] to them,” he said.