Garissa drought wors­ens, Jama terms it dis­as­ter, pleads for aid

Says his ad­min­is­tra­tion can­not do much. ‘All we can do is com­pli­ment govern­ment’s ef­forts in en­sur­ing no lives or live­stock are lost’

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Northeastern - STEPHEN ASTARIKO @stephenAs­tariko

Gov­er­nor Nathif Jama has de­clared the wors­en­ing drought in Garissa a dis­as­ter and called for ur­gent help.

He has urged the na­tional govern­ment to in­ter­vene and as­sist res­i­dents to avoid loss of lives. Jama spoke in Masalani on Satur­day, when he flagged off a con­voy of lor­ries fer­ry­ing re­lief food to sub­wards in Ijara. The sub­county is es­pe­cially hard hit by the drought.

Jama said his ad­min­is­tra­tion can­not do much to as­sist vic­tims be­cause of mea­gre re­sources. He urged the na­tional govern­ment to move with speed and as­sist af­fected fam­i­lies.

“This is a drought the county has not seen for the past 200 years. It is for this rea­son that we call on the na­tional govern­ment to be re­spon­sive and proac­tive. We are suf­fer­ing,” Jama said.

“Drought [man­age­ment] is not a de­volved func­tion. All we can do, as a county, is com­pli­ment the govern­ment’s ef­forts in en­sur­ing no lives or live­stock are lost.”

He said the na­tional govern­ment, through the Na­tional Drought Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity and the Kenya Food Steer­ing Group, which have big­ger bud­gets, should tackle the drought.

Jama also ap­pealed to friends and part­ners to come to the aid of the suf­fer­ing. Learn­ing has stopped in most schools, as chil­dren help their par­ents to seek wa­ter and pas­ture.

Wo­mankind Kenya’s Child Pro­gramme co­or­di­na­tor Has­san Is­mail ac­cused the govern­ment of be­ing re­luc­tant to re­spond swiftly to the cur­rent cri­sis, which, he said, has largely af­fected women and chil­dren.

“The govern­ment has all the ma­chin­ery to mit­i­gate the cur­rent cri­sis. But it’s like they are wait­ing for the emer­gency level, when many live­stock and hu­man lives are lost,” he said.

Is­mail said they have done drought assess­ment in the county. He said the prob­lem is se­vere and needs ur­gent in­ter­ven­tion from all stake­hold­ers. “There is no ef­fort be­ing made to re­verse this trend,” he said.

/STEPHEN ASTARIKO

School­child­ren view the car­cass of a buf­falo that died af­ter it stuck in mud in one of the Ijara sub­county dams on Tues­day

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