Curse of Drought: Children Stare at Death as Dry Spell Rages on [PHOTOS]

A file image of pastoralists in Turkana County.
  • As a tumbleweed passes through the drought-stricken terrain, children within the Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) are on the brink of death due to the recurrent droughts and unpredictable rainfall that has left most communities even more vulnerable.

    The current situation for children residing in Turkana County depicts a struggle for the young ones who have to endure extreme weather conditions as part of their day-to-day life. 

    The Turkana community is aggrieved by limited access to education, elevated levels of health conditions and high cases of poverty.

    A file image of pastoralists in Turkana County.

    According to a report released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), titled the Inequality Trends and Diagnostics in Kenya 2020, the region ranked as both the poorest and most unequal devolved unit in the country.

    The report had analysed previous surveys across a 22-year period between 1994 and 2016. 

    These statistics symbolise the norm for Turkana residents whose mental and physical toughness are tested by the dire conditions.

    The County Government ought to distribute relief food to these residents in order to cushion them from hunger but Chief Lolele of Loima Constituency, Turkana County told that they have yet to receive any relief food since last year. 

    “The last time the county government distributed the relief food was back in 2020,” Lolele stated adding that the most affected families include the elderly and orphans. 

    According to the Controller of Budget, the government had set aside Ksh329 million for the distribution of relief food in a bid to cushion the residents from the dire situation as well as the ravaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    A resident in the region, who sought anonymity, noted that the majority of residents were forced to migrate to neighbouring countries due to the effects. 

    “As for now, the water bodies and catchment areas along with the water points where livestock have dried up and in some parts some livestock have died due to the vegetative cover having dried up due to lack of rains,” the source stated. 

    “Most of the pastoralists have moved to parts of Northern Uganda, Ethiopia where there’s some vegetation since back home the situation is dire. The Northern part of Turkana is the most affected.”

    A representative at the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) added that they have put in mitigation strategies in order to curb these effects.

    “We’re working with partners in order to address the situation. We’re looking at a cross-section of sectors that are affected, water, livestock situation and extreme temperature are key areas we will look into,” he affirmed.

    He stated that no resident has died due to starvation in Turkana County. Calls to the County Government of Turkana to divulge more details on this issue went unanswered. 

    The government, in its efforts to curb the recurrent drought situation, outlined several strategies outlined in the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) in 2010.

    The National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) was later drafted in 2013 in order to implement the NCCRS strategies that had been affected by delays.

    The National Adaptation Plan (NAP) 2015–2030 was also formulated to establish adaptation priorities while in 2016, the Climate Change Act was established to provide a regulatory framework for addressing the climate change considerations.

    Later, the National Drought Management Authority Act was drafted in 2016 to coordinate all matters relating to drought management. Despite all these efforts in the past ten-plus years, the situation seems likely to remain a puzzle. 

    A section of residents living in Turkana County.
    A section of residents living in Turkana County.
    An undated image of residents in Turkana with their children
    An undated image of residents in Turkana with their children
    died child death