By Arnold Neliba
MARSABIT, OCTOBER 26, 2021 (CISA) – “The situation is in dire need. The whole county of Marsabit is affected, no water and grass for our people who are ordinarily pastoralists. We have not seen interventions for food,” said Bishop Peter Kihara of the Catholic Diocese of Marsabit.
In an interview with CISA on October 16, The Bishop observed that the drought situation has been brought about by reduced rainfall for the seasons of November 2020 and April to May of 2021.
“This is the third round and you can imagine what a great disaster there is for our people who are ordinarily pastoralists and depend on it for their livelihood, for the economy since for anything they need to do livestock is the source of income,” he said.
“When there is no water and there is no grass what do you do, you get stuck. Now they are being encouraged to sell the animals instead of them dying so that at least they can get the money and save something otherwise if they die they are lost.,” Bishop Kihara added.
The prelate also pointed out that the humanitarian situation in the county has been worsened by the ongoing ethnic clashes in the area.
“When we intervened as a diocese in early August there were people who had become internal refugees because of tribalism. Their houses were burnt, and brought down, so they had to look for other places or even tents and some were hosted by others,” he said.
According to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “the cumulative impact of two consecutive poor rainy seasons, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, insecurity, pests and diseases have caused humanitarian needs to rapidly rise in the Arid and Semi-Arad Lands (ASAL) region of Kenya.”
The report approximates that there are at least 2.1 million people who are severely food insecure and adopting irreversible coping strategies to meet their minimum food needs, and this is expected to rise to nearly 2.4 million people from November 2021. In addition, food insecurity is expected to worsen in the period ahead based on the likelihood of poor rains during the upcoming short rains season of October to December.