Agency says food scarcity, drought to worsen in 2019

Marsabit County
Women head to a water truck in Marsabit County. The area has been hard-hit by drought. PHOTO | DAVID MUCHUI  

A new report by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) projects that drought and food scarcity in Kenya will worsen in 2019 unless adequate mitigation measures are taken by the government and other actors.

According to the report, sectors likely to be hard-hit include food, livestock, water, health and nutrition, education, peace and security.

The report further showed that the number of people in need of relief assistance had nearly doubled from 1.1 million in February 2019 to 2.6 million in August 2019. “The most affected counties on the basis of the number of food insecure population are; Turkana, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Baringo, Tana River, Kitui, Makueni, Kilifi, and Meru (Meru North),” the report showed.

In April 2019, the National Treasury approved the allocation of Sh1.85 billion for response during the January to April 2019 period.

“Food and safety net was allocated Sh602 million, household irrigation water storage programme Sh600 million while provision of strategic water facilities, maintenance and rehabilitation HAD Sh650 million,” the report highlighted. It pointed out that a total of 97,770 most vulnerable beneficiary households in Wajir, Turkana, Mandera and Marsabit, each received Sh5,400 bi-monthly from the government’s Sh2 billion disbursement between January and June 2019. “Sh395.3 million was paid as emergency cash transfers to 38,014 additional drought vulnerable households in Wajir, Mandera, Turkana and Marsabit Counties to enable them to meet their basic food needs and to cushion against depletion of their livelihood assets,” the report read.