Turkana leaders want famine declared national disaster

A lawmaker from Turkana has asked the national government to declare famine, which has affected three quarters of the locals, a national disaster.

Loima MP Protus Akuja and former Turkana Central MP Immanuel Imana said the county government lacked the capacity to deal with the humanitarian crisis, which has escalated with the invasion of locusts.

“The drought situation needs concerted efforts by national government and development partners. Due to climate change that has made us unable to predict when the next rainy season will be, the devolved unit needs to communicate that it has failed to feed people and call for support,” said Mr Akuja.

According to the MP, Turkana North, Kibish and Turkana West and parts of Loima sub-counties, which have no permanent rivers, are the worst affected.

Mr Imana said he was shocked by the sight of emaciated livestock — the main source of livelihood for the residents — at Lomil and Morua Edon villages in Loima “which can do nothing without the intervention of county, national governments and relief agencies.”

Many herders have been forced to migrate to neighbouring Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia as drought continues to ravage the area, effecting mainly the elderly, women and children.

Ms Kevina Akai, a resident of Kaeris village in Turkana North sub-county, said the surviving animals were being forced to feed on human waste as others attacked children with food.

“I am remaining with only three goats out of 14 that I had. The rest have died and no one can buy such emaciated goats with the best market being in Lodwar, whcih is more than 200km away,” she said.