Kenya is experiencing its fifth unsuccessful rainy season this according Dr. Richard Muita of the Kenya Metrological Department who said that Droughts have plagued Kenya on and off since therefore this is not a brand-new occurrence.
Dr. Mutia explained the current dry spell as the worst in the country’s history in terms of longevity and severity.
“In 1928 we had a very severe drought in Kenya; then again 1933 to 1937…in the ‘50s again we had some major drought. Since 2016 at least we have had depressed rains, almost consecutively,” said Dr. Mutia.
Jackon Kikplagat, Head of Conservation, WWF- Kenya, said: “According to the latest report from IPPC, this year has been one of the hottest years since time immemorial…and it is actually indicated that this trend is likely to continue making life more difficult.”
The unfortunate history of perennial drought has however done little in informing future interventions. Issues have been raised over the lack of a proactive approach to addressing the drought situation in the country which created another cycle of the increased economic burden in drought prevention programs over years.
The Kenya Red Cross for example has been engaged in an integrated drought management program distributing food to over 275,000 people, cash transfers to about 116,560 people, animal off take program across several counties and water provisions among many other activities. Today there is high rate the growing demand coupled with other factors such as the skyrocketing inflation rates, the emergency interventions are no longer economically sustainable.
During the last financial year, the government disbursed Ksh.4 billion for the hunger safety program and Ksh.3.45 billion for emergency relief. Another Ksh.950 million was spent on livestock off-take while Ksh.446 million was used on water response issues. Experts in weather and drought management are calling for a change of strategy to end this cycle.
“Adaptation is one way in which we can respond to climate change, for example having livestock breeds that can be able to survive in areas that are continuing to become dryer, instituting more management responses in dryland areas.” Kikplagat said.
In the process of appreciating the recent economic shocks occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, locust invasion, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and increasing global fuel prices, the Country Director John Kitui is challenging the national and county governments to make efforts to reduce the cost of living to enable Kenyan’s precariously living at the edge of misery not to fall into poverty and destitution.
Kenya is among the three countries in the Horn of Africa facing the worst drought in decades occasioned by the below average rainfall going into its fifth season and counties are in the Alert drought phase include Embu, Garissa, Kitui, Makueni, Meru, Narok, Nyeri, Taita Taveta, Kwale, and Kilifi. The remaining three (3) counties including Baringo, West Pokot, and Lamu are in the Normal drought phase.
BY: ISAIAH WASWA