NEP leaders say drought a national disaster

January 7, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7- Leaders from the North Eastern Kenya want both the government and Non-Governmental Organisations to rapidly mobilise resources to provide food, water, medical and veterinary support to drought affected areas.

The leaders also want President Mwai Kibaki to declare the looming drought a national disaster.

Northern Kenya Leaders Forum Chairman Elias Bare Shill said on Friday that if this was not done urgently, the drought would ruin the people and the millions of livestock in the region.

"The heightened drought is highly expected to decimate the livestock numbers if an urgent measure to forestall the looming crisis is not undertaken," Mr Shill stated.

It is estimated that the region has seven million cattle, 31 million goats, 500,000 donkeys and three  million heads of camel.

Former Wajir South MP Abdirahman Ali Hassan said the government needed to put in place systems to stop the cycle of drought in the area and use community associations for livestock off-take for quick purchase and supply to the Kenya Meat Commission.

Livestock off-take is done before animals die.

Mr Hassan said that the process used by the Ministry of Livestock Development in past droughts was not beneficial.

"We always raise an appeal at any given year and we are not supposed to be raising appeals to government and donors because they know when drought is imminent. We expect plans to be put in place particularly by government," he said.

"We have institutions on ground that should act proactively; the relevant line ministries and projects that are in the districts should trigger such information so that before lives and livelihoods are lost we can make some interventions," he added.

The leaders said that it was regrettable that over the years, successive governments had failed to find a lasting solution on the plight of pastoralists.

"Worse still is that no contingency plans have been put in place in spite of recurring droughts whose cycle have become shorter and warnings from meteorological department on imminent droughts have not been heeded," he said.


Latest Articles

Most Viewed