Wajir launches emergency support as drought bites

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The Wajir county government has embarked on emergency interventions to protect livelihoods following a devastating drought.

Measures include purchase of emergency food and non-food items to support 42,000 households and water trucking.

The county also has set up standby mobile borehole repairs units to attend to breakdowns.

Governor Mohamed Abdi on Wednesday said the impact of recurrent drought-related crisis in the county is rapidly escalating with more and more people being affected.

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He spoke when he presided over a special county steering group meeting that is meant to discuss the devastating effects of the drought and how they can jointly accelerate responses in its mitigation.

Abdi regretted that drought and disasters are becoming more frequent due to global warming, allowing less time for recovery between drought thus increasing vulnerability of the local population.

“As the administration, we will continue to carry out more interventions during this period like rolling  out the second phase of mass livestock vaccination as well a supplementation for the purchase of school meals for the early learners and enhancing provision of water to the pastoralists and their livestock,” said Abdi.

He appealed for more help from the national government and other non-state actors, noting that the number of those in need was growing by the day and the county alone could not handle the situation.

Camels drink water in Tulatula, Eldas subcounty
DROUGHT: Camels drink water in Tulatula, Eldas subcounty
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

“Reducing the impact of these disasters require concerted efforts from a broad range of stakeholders including the county government, national government as well as development and humanitarian partners,” he said.

“It is with this in mind that I appeal to all our partners from the national government ministries and agencies, multilateral organisations such as WFP and Unicef and other non-governmental organisations to come to our aid in combatting this very lethal drought that continues to cause havoc to our people”.

According to a March drought assessment by the National Drought Management Authority, the county is facing severe food insecurity and is classified as stressed with a worsening trend.

According to the report, the county is in alert phase of drought with Wajir  West and Eldas categorised as being in the alarm phase.

Short rain food security assessments done between January 18 and 29 showed severe vegetation deficit, depletion of pastures and browsers and drying of all waters pans. Similarly, there is over-concentration of livestock on major boreholes which has led to frequent breakdowns.

The effects of the depressed rains was also compounded by frequent bush fires especially in Wajir South, West, Eldas and North which destroyed the pasture; animal and human diseases’ outbreak, recurrent resource-based clan conflicts, locust invasion and Covid-19 pandemic, leading to food insecurity.

New hazards are also emerging such as floods, bush fires, conflicts and diseases. It is expected that as climate change unfolds, the frequency and intensity of climate-related shocks will rise.

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