Post-poll: 35,000 people in
northern Kenya face starvation
Nairobi, Kenya - At least 35,000 people in northern Kenya face
hunger and starvation as a result of a debilitating drought and
post-election violence that cut off food supplies to the mainly
pastrolitist communities, a British international charity,
ActionAid warned here Saturday.
"Already, people in over 28 trading centres in Takaba district
rely on water delivered in trucks because water in shallow wells
and water-pans has all dried up, " Mr Enrico Eminae
ActionAid-Kenya coordinator in northern and northeast region
He said an estimated 35,000 people in Takaba, a hamlet in the
far-flung province that borders Somalia and Ethiopia, face acute
shortages that call for rapid response.
Eminae said the situation had been compounded by a serious drought
that has resulted in acute shortages of water for the pastoralists'
He also warned that pastoralists in southern Ethiopia and western
Somalia face even a more serious food insecurity "and there is the
risk of them migrating to Kenya which will further strain the
Arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya rely on food grown in western
and rift valley provinces that were recently affected by
When a similar drought occurred in 2006 ActionAid-Kenya
commissioned a 200 million litres Takaba Community Water Supply
project to serve 20,000 people.
Eminae said "for pastoralists' communities, scarcity of water for
people signals hunger, because livestock, their only source of
food and income, are at greater risk in such times."
Water and pasture shortages are a constant source of conflict
among herders and the ActionAid-Kenya official expressed fears the
worsening situation could trigger inter-ethnic conflicts over
dwindling water and pasture.
"It will trigger conflict over resources as people from different
clans criss-cross each others territory in search of pasture and
water," he said.
Northern and north-eastern provinces of Kenya, which constitute
nearly half of the country's landmass, are semi-arid, but produce
over 60 percent of the beef for domestic consumption and export.
ActionAid identified Tana River, Ganze, Ijara, Sericho and
Modogashe districts, as where pastoralists are migrating from.
According to Eminae, grazing areas and water resources are
diminishing fast with the possibility of livestock, the economic
main-stay of the dry lands, dying in large numbers as the
available resources are already over-stretched.
"Livestock health is deteriorating fast. The failure of long rains
in March could trigger a crisis," he said adding "flash-floods
could also compromise the survival of animals whose health will
before the rainy season."
In Sericho, the Ewaso Ngiro flood plains have dried up, with the
river receding up to about 100km up-stream.
The communities have to rely on the shallow wells drilled in dry
riverbeds, he said.
ActionAid said in a report that in Tana River and Ganze districts,
pastoralists are already migrating with their livestock in search
"It is in such times that conflicts flare up between the farming
and animal keeping communities over grazing and farming areas,"
the report said.
The charity said the situation in Takaba region is even more
fragile as more pastoralists have migrated to near Takaba town
with their livestock in search of water.
Pastoralist fall-outs are burgeoning in all the neighbouring
villages of Darwed, Didkuro and Wangaidahan in search of