Drought hits over one million in Kenya

Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe said on Thursday that so far only one person had died due to drought but more than 15 out of the 47 counties were facing drought, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Nairobi, Nov 18 Kenya said it has launched interventions to deal with a severe drought, which is ravaging several parts of the country and affected over one million people.

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Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe said on Thursday that so far only one person had died due to drought but more than 15 out of the 47 counties were facing drought, Xinhua news agency reported.

"The government has been closely monitoring the situation and is working with relevant stakeholders to coordinate effective short and long term interventions," Kiraithe told journalists in Nairobi.

"Challenges have been encountered in some areas where the citizens in need are not reachable or information does not reach government agencies on time," he said.

He said numerous measures had been put in place by county governments to address the crisis, including significant investment in relief food, water trucking, livestock disease surveillance and livestock offtake.

About 1.3 million people mostly in arid and semi-arid areas in Kenya are in urgent need of food aid due to the prolonged drought, the government said last month.

The government has been responding to ensure no lives are lost due to the drought.

Kiraithe said additional financing had been approved by the national government towards drought-related expenditure.

Food security experts have warned that there could be tension among cattle herders in drought-hit areas as they fight over scarce water resources to ensure their own survival and that of their livestock.

According to Kiraithe, with the expected early cessation of the recent short rains, all indications are that the drought will persist into 2017.

"In the affected areas vegetation has greatly deteriorated and surface waters have all but run dry. Due to this, herders are not able to adequately feed their livestock leading to diseases and death caused by starvation," he said.

IANS

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