Kenya Red Cross warns 10 counties facing severe drought

10 counties have been put in the alert drought status with the situation expected to worsen in the coming months. This even as residents in counties of Turkana, Garissa, Wajir and Marsabit heavily feel the effects of drought, with children being at a high risk of malnutrition.

According to the Kenya Red Cross and UN, Kenya is enduring its worst drought in 40 years. More than four million people are “food insecure,” and 3.3 million can’t get enough water to drink. Across the Horn of Africa, that figure leaps to 11.6 million.

Esther Muiruri, Programmes officer of Kenya Red Cross, said:

“If life-saving immediate interventions are not put in place, we are looking at the deteriorating capacity of the communities affected by the drought.”

In Kenya, there are numerous stories of struggle and resilience amid the drought that is currently affecting over 4 million residents. Working together with the Kenya Red Cross, the The International Committee of the Red Cross ( ICRC) has scaled up humanitarian response to reach severely affected communities of four counties of Lamu, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera.

“We need to understand that there are external factors affecting our efforts in regards to understanding the drought risk in this country; climate change is an external factor that is causing recurrent drought periods.” said, Esther Muiruri.

While addressing urgent needs, the County Governor of Garissa, Nathif Jama said they were water tracking and distributing food.

He further cited the need for the National government to redouble its efforts on capacity to cope with drought as opposed to its capacity to respond.

“We need less talk and real action when it comes to the drought crisis; we need to pull our efforts together as a county government, National government, International community, World Bank and major institutions should come forward in order to come up with solutions,” Nathif Jama – Governor, Garissa County.

This week during the UN General Assembly, the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) network will be calling on world leaders to step up on rising humanitarian challenges such as: Climate, Food security, hunger crisis, Equity and pandemics.

“A staggering 345 million people are now experiencing acute hunger, a number that has more than doubled since 2019. We are calling on leaders gathering at the 77th UN General Assembly to take decisive action to end the spiralling global hunger crisis,” Kenya Red Cross.

The humanitarian organization is one of the 238 local and international non-governmental organisations from 75 countries that have signed an open letter expressing outrage at skyrocketing hunger levels and recommendations for action.

Political will and resources are needed now. Without them, many lives will be lost, and the suffering will endure for years. An emergency response alone will not end these hunger crises. Concerted action and long-term approaches are the only way to break the cycle.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta declared drought as a national disaster last year, whether President William Ruto will follow on his predecessor’s footsteps is something to watch. However, to the exposed families and households, the immediate action is to cushion them from drought through food distribution, cash transfer, and water.


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