Thousands face starvation in Hulugho, Garissa as dry spell worsens

Monday March 13 2017

Tens of of residents of Hulugho in Garissa

Tens of of residents of Hulugho in Garissa County fetch water from tanks on March 12, 2017. The water is drawn from Tana River, about 200km away. PHOTO | ABDIMALIK HAJIR | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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An estimated 60,000 people are on the verge of starvation in the border town of Hulugho in Garissa County after their only source of water dried up following the escalation of drought.

Hundreds of distressed villagers have told the Nation that they now depend on water tanks that draw water from Tana River, about 200km away.

The water, they says, is also not enough to serve scores of people scattered in different settlements.

Mahat Muhumed Saney from Gedilun Village, who lost five cows and 20 goats, said he fears for his family as there is water for cooking and for drinking, adding that if something urgent measures is not done, people might die in the coming days.

Like Saney, Mzee Bashir Dol Omar from Handaro faces a similar predicament.

He said he had about 200 goats and sheep but he is now left with 60 of them.


Most of them are weak due to lack of water and pasture.

“As we speak, [I have] 11 weak goats and sheep in my house. In the coming days, they might die since there is no water for drinking, even for human consumption,” said the father of 11.

Another elder from Hulugho, Mr Mohamud Abass Burale, said the drought has been made worse by insecurity since the town is only 18 kilometres from the Somalia border and many of pastoralists have moved with their livestock to the neighbouring country.


According to Hulugho Sub-county Administrator Abdullahi Mohamed Gedi the famous Baldos dam that was dug over thirty years ago has for the first time dried up.

“People in far flung areas used to converge at this dam. The current situation has affected over 60,000 people. The county government has provided two water tanks [which are] now serving the residents,” said the administrator.

According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) County Coordinator Abdinoor Dubow, all government agencies and non-governmental organisations working towards drought mitigation measures have brought all their resources under one centre in the governor’s office.

He said that no human deaths have been reported as a result of the prolonged dry spell.