Act on drought in ASALs be­fore tragedy

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices -

THERE are wor­ry­ing re­ports of drought in Tana River and Garissa. And yet no one in the na­tional govern­ment is talk­ing about it. In Garissa (see story on page 26) the drought has wors­ened dra­mat­i­cally.

Gov­er­nor Nathif Jama has de­clared the drought a dis­as­ter and warned of im­mi­nent loss of lives of both hu­man be­ings and live­stock.

In Tana River, as the Star re­ported on Septem­ber 30, more than 100,000 peo­ple are starv­ing, in a pro­longed dry spell. En­tire herds of live­stock are also in dire need of wa­ter and pas­ture. This drought started four months ago.

Gov­er­nor Hussein Dado said the sit­u­a­tion is alarm­ing and sent out an SOS to hu­man­i­tar­ian or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Last week the Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal De­part­ment is­sued an ad­vi­sory warn­ing of de­pressed rain­fall over a 90-day pe­riod.

Once again, it looks as if a grue­some an­nual rit­ual is about to re­peat it­self, with the cen­tral govern­ment wait­ing un­til peo­ple and an­i­mals in drought-stricken arid and semi-arid ar­eas die in droves be­fore Nairobi talks about it and takes ef­fec­tive ac­tion.

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