Failure of planning to be blamed on drought
I have witnessed animals dying in their hundreds, sometimes in their thousands, men and women suffering from scorching sun with no water to quench their thirst. But this year, the situation has gotten out of hand.
Ethiopia, Somalia and northern Kenya is facing its worst drought in 60 years with 10 million people said to face starvation and the UN reporting this as an ‘emergency situation’.
Personally I have the Kenyan government to blame, they have failed to invest in arid and semi-arid areas which has caused the regions to be perennially vulnerable to drought.
Once you are in the region you will feel the absence of infrastructure and basic services such as health and education. The limit access to national and international market has made the lands vulnerable.
Two years ago, National Drought Contingency Fund was formed to accumulate money for drought responses during good years and quickly disburse it during times of need, but this was never to happen.
Despite the presence of drought warning system, the government strategies remain gloomily wanting, therefore the country is again caught unprepared and in dire need of humanitarian crisis.
Earlier this year through its Ministry of Agriculture, the government reported that there was food stock to last for almost a year and contingency measures were put in place following drought forecasts.
Four months after the announcement, 3.5 million are facing starvation in the country begging the question where did the stock go?
As if it’s not bad enough with the worst crisis of drought, famine emerge at a time when the food prices have risen to an alarming level.
On top of that, the situation is made worse by the hundreds of refugees arriving from Somalia who flee the war torn country crossing the border into Kenya in one of the biggest refugee camp which is now on the verge of collapse because of its high population.
There have been constant rivalries between the residents in North Eastern Kenya and the refugees from the camp. The residents have complained that the government of Kenya has considered them as refugees, for this reason they have been forgotten and the humanitarian organisations just cater for the refugees needs.
To reduce the constant chaos between the two groups, the humanitarian organisations also started different water projects for the community.
Although different humanitarian organisations have raised a red flag and launched international appeal campaign to help raise funds to assist drought hit population, much more still needs to be done.
The biggest setback faced by Kenya like many other African countries, is lack of forward planning and inadequate response to crises.
This should serve as a lesson to the Kenyan government and the East Africa as a whole, a contingency plan for food security should be planned given the known of drought cycle.
Urgent reviews of the food security policy and its sustainability should again be planned and anything short of this would spell a vicious cycle of more doom come next year.Tagged in: Africa, drought
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