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Drought situation to worsen in Kenya, government warns

By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya | | Updated: 2023-01-12 20:05
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The government of Kenya has warned that the drought situation in the country's arid and semi-arid areas is likely to worsen, following the late onset and poor performance of the October-December rains.

This is in addition to the country now facing five consecutive failed rainy seasons that have seen crops wither and water sources dry up with many families now struggling to put food on the table as well as have access to clean drinking water.

Rebecca Miano; the cabinet secretary in the Ministry of East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development; said the drought situation remains critical in 22 of 23 arid and semi-arid counties.

She said nine counties are currently in alarm drought phase while 13 others are in alert drought phase.

"The Drought Early Warning System has also indicated that the vegetation condition has deteriorated in some of the counties, especially Marsabit, Wajir and Isiolo Counties," she said.

Miano said drought related livestock mortalities continue to be reported in several counties and added that resource-based conflict has also been noted in parts of Isiolo, Baringo and Laikipia counties.

She said high rates of children at risk of malnutrition have been noted in five counties, attributing to the continued decrease in milk production and consumption at household levels, as well as poor dietary diversity, poor child feeding practices and reduced food intake at the household level.

Miano said 4.35 million Kenyans are currently in dire need of relief food while 960,000 children are severely malnourished.

She assured Kenyans of the government's commitment to build resilience and ensure that no life is lost due to hunger going forward.

"The national and county governments with the support of development partners, private sector, non-state actors and Kenyans of good will are scaling up drought response interventions to cushion the lives and livelihoods of those affected by the drought situation in the country," she said.

Miano said the ministry has mapped out affected counties, sub-counties and wards to improve targeting and response.

Miano said 14,300 food-insecure households received relief food distributed by the private sector-led National Steering Committee on Drought Response in December.

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