Isiolo County gov't declares State of Emergency over drought
The biting drought in the Northern part of the country is worsening each day, with leaders from the region calling on the government to declare it a national disaster.
Nine out of 10 wards in Isiolo County are in the grip of drought, a situation that led to the county government declaring a State of Emergency.
The communities in Isiolo who are heavily reliant on livestock for their livelihood are staring at a serious crisis after losing more than 80 per cent of their animals to drought.
55-year-old Marashi ek Salam, a mother of four, has not had anything to cook for her family for the last three days.
Neighbours who are also struggling with hunger have been her source of hope; failed rains spanning 3 seasons are the main cause of this crisis.
“Saa hii hakuna mfugo hata moja, nategemea tu jirani...naenda kwa jirani napatiwa chai, naenda kwa mwingine chakula na supper...namna hivo tu,” she says.
Alango Assistant Chief Mohammed Dokata Wario said: “Ile mfugo iko hapa saa hii haina lishe, hata maji kupata ni shida sababu ile maji iko hapa ni chumvi na inadhuru afya ya mifugo na hata binadamu.”
The struggle to keep the few remaining livestock is real, with the cows now feeding on roots. They have been forced to feed on what otherwise could not be edible, but like human beings, they have been forced to adapt to the changing times and situations.
Small rivers have dried up in the region, women and children are forced to travel tens of kilometers in search of the precious commodity.
River Ewaso Nyiro that flows through the county to the neighbouring country of Somalia has not been spared, the water levels have been decreasing in the last 4 years and residents are worried that the river may dry up completely.
A community that was once independent now relies on well-wishers for survival and school fees for their children.
Marashi’s situation is replicated in most households in a county that has so far declared drought an emergency as 9 out of 10 wards are affected by what has been termed the worst drought in 4 decades.
According to the county government, tension is high in parts of the county due to conflict over limited resources.
Isiolo County Assembly Speaker Mohammed Roba said: “In Kina Ward you can see the number is a bit lower because we got some small rain in November and all the cattle that we have in these other wards move to that place and even as far as Moyale and already there is tension because of the limited water, pasture.”
According to the Kenya Red Cross which has been distributing food aid in the region in partnership with Airtel, the drought situation is still dire in the country especially in the Northern part despite a small amount of rainfall received in some parts in December.
Joy Nyaga, the Legal and Corporate Affairs Director at Airtel Kenya, said: “The President himself actually called on us as corporates to come and assist and that is why were are here as Airtel. We made a small donation last year, of course this is not the end, we will continue supporting the community. Our donation was Ksh.50 million, part of which will go to relief food and the rest to restoration of boreholes across the country.”
Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Dr. Asha Mohammed: “The reality is that even where it rained, it was not adequate and it was not distributed well, so that means there was very little relief you can say and as you can already see we are into February...towards March it is hot, which means if there was any gain it will have been lost.”
Speaker Roba added: “In the next two three months if the situation continues like this we will have to bear with reports of people dying of hunger.”
Cases of malnutrion in children and lactating mothers continue to be reported on a daily basis in most parts of the region.
Rukia Mohamed, a nurse at the Korbesa dispensary, said: “Moderate malnutrition tuko na 72 children, pregnant and lactating mothers tuko na 24 patients...wale wamelemewa tuko na two cases, hiyo ni severe acute mulnutrion...cases zinaongezeka, kila siku tuna admit two ama three children.”
The cost of living is high, making it difficult for residents to put a meal on the table, with leaders from the region now calling for the government to declare drought a national disaster.
No comments yet.
Leave a Comment