SHOCKING: MORE THAN 4.35 MILLION KENYANS IN ARID AND SEMI-ARID LANDS ARE AT RISK OF SEVERE FOOD INSECURITY DUE TO THE PREVAILING DROUGHT
A child is screened for malnutrition at a Save the Children supported outreach site. Photo|Marion Kwambai, Save the Children
A ride across Garissa county reveals the adverse effects of the prevailing drought situation. Carcasses, dried water pans and abandoned homes welcome you into this county which is largely inhabited by pastoralists.
Residents of Garissa county confess that this is one of the most severe droughts experienced in a decade. Communities here have experienced widespread livelihood losses and massive displacement of populations. Those that have remained have to make huge sacrifices to guarantee their chances of survival. While mothers and daughters dig up dried-up water pans in search of water, fathers and their sons have been forced to walk for long distances searching for pasture for their remaining livestock.
We have 336, 541 people in Garissa county facing acute food insecurity which is affecting their normal lives, says Yussuf Gedi, Garissa county Program Manager, Save the Children
The situation in Wajir and Turkana counties is no better. Nyamuodi, a resident in Turkana tells us that her large herd of goats has been reduced to only 5 goats. She further adds that if the situation worsens the remaining 5 might die and she is contemplating of selling them to get some money to buy food for her children.
According to the National Drought Management Authority(NDMA) 942,000 children of ages 6-59 months and 134,000 pregnant and lactating mothers are acutely malnourished and in need of treatment. The number of those affected is likely to increase should there be another failed rainy season. Urgent humanitarian assistance is needed from the government and partners in order to avert a looming humanitarian catastrophe.
Save the Children is advocating for more resilient interventions by working with the county governments of Turkana, Garissa and Wajir to embrace Focus Based Action (FBA) in order to better plan for emergencies like the drought. Save the Children is also providing cash transfers to affected households to enable them to procure food items. When households have adequate food, children are less likely to be malnourished. Lastly, we are engaging communities in the Arid and Semi-arid Lands (ASALs) to embrace Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) where they can save some money and invest in businesses to promote economic resilience.
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