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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Garissa team crafts new drought mitigation measures

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Garissa County Steering Group held an emergency meeting to deliberate and come up with new drought mitigation measures.

This comes as the drought situation continues to worsen, hence the urgent need for a response.

Water executive Abdi Omar said over 30 organisations came up with their own mitigation measures that were integrated and will be driven by the committee. He spoke during a meeting at Garissa Farmers Training Centre.

The National Drought and Management Authority has already issued an alert over emaciation of livestock and a decline in milk production.

In January, the NDMA said storage and water sources were depleting by the day following failed October-November-December rains.

Omar said climate change has amplified the existing stress on availability of water and open sources such as dams and pans have dried up.

The CEC noted the dried-up pans had exerted pressure on permanent water sources such as boreholes, resulting in over-concentration of livestock and human, hence causing frequent breakdowns.

He said the average household distance to water sources had increased and human-wildlife conflict was likely to surge.

As a response measure, the county had initiated water trucking to all the 150 centres across its seven subcounties. Omar identified Lagdera and Balambala as the worst affected. He acknowledged the growing concentration of both human and livestock on watering points.

The CEC warned the situation could spur other risks to exacerbate vulnerability on food security. He called for the intervention of state and non-state actors as the Meteorological department forecast paints a grim picture in the coming days.

Kenya Livestock Marketing chairman Dubat Amey, speaking to the press after touring the livestock market, said the fact that locusts have devoured the vegetation has only worsened matters for pastoralists who depend on it.

He appealed to the national government to come on board and assist the farmers by providing feed, vaccines and water.

“We all know that it’s the national government that controls the biggest chunk of funds, and so they should move with speed and provide assistance to our people. We don’t want to witness last-minute-rush assistance as has been the case in the past,” Amey said.

Last week, Governor Ali Korane, regretting that the drought had become a cyclic problem, said his administration was committed to ensuring livestock farmers incur minimum losses by providing them with water and feed.

“In places where we don’t have boreholes, our teams will be on the ground to do water trucking because we all know that water is life and without it, the consequences are dire. But even as we do this, we continue to appeal for assistance,” Korane said.

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