Kenyan authorities said that country was ramping up drought response interventions to mitigate the impacts of the deteriorating drought, which has left more than 6 million people food insecure.
Rebecca Miano, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development, said the government has released an additional 2 billion Kenyan shillings ($15.8 million ) to secure relief food distribution for affected counties whose procurement is ongoing, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Cumulative effects of previous successive below-average rainfall seasons have led to the depletion of pasture and browse in most arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) counties, which has resulted in the poor body condition of livestock and widespread mortalities,” Miano said in a statement issued here on Friday.
She added that the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) is providing livestock feed supplements and implementing water-related interventions.
Findings of an assessment of the impact of the 2022 short rains on the food and nutrition security situation in the country revealed that an estimated 6 million people in 32 counties are currently facing acute food insecurity and/or acute malnutrition.
This includes 4.4 million people in the 23 ASAL counties facing acute food insecurity and 500,000 people in 9 non-ASAL counties, as well as 970,000 children below five years and 142,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers requiring urgent life-saving treatment for malnutrition.
Miano said the delayed and depressed October to December 2022 short rains affected crop production and the availability of pasture and water.
Consequently, she said, priority interventions under the ministry are the distribution of relief food, improving access to water, and provision of livestock feed supplements.
Miano said the ministry, through the NDMA, is in the process of dispatching 60,480 bags (50 kg) of livestock feed supplements to eight ASAL counties.
She noted that the intervention is aimed at complementing actions by other partners to avert more livestock deaths.
“The prolonged drought has limited access to water. For instance, more than 60 per cent of open water sources have dried up, while river flows are below 40 per cent of normal. Moreover, there is frequent breakdown of boreholes due to increased demand. This support will ensure communities have access to water as the drought persists,” Miano said.