GARISSA (Xinhua) --
Humanitarian crises is looming in northeast Kenya’s county of
Garissa, which borders Somalia as thousands of pastoralists’
families are hit by escalating drought that has led to drying up
of water sources and depletion of pasture.
families have appealed to the government as well as the
international community to speedily intervene as escalating
drought threatens their lives and that of their livestock.
Most water points have dried up forcing residents to heavily
depend on inadequate remaining wells, which have changed color
and developed foul smell due to contamination from the high
number of animals and people converging at them for survival.
Large population of those stricken by the raging dry spell
have to trek, in some cases more than 30 km to find water for
drinking and for domestic use.
Ijara Sub-sub County, one of the areas hardest hit by the
drought schools and health facilities are on the verge of shut
down with respective administrators fearing keeping the children
and patients could pose more danger to their health.
According to residents interviewed, chances of water born
diseases like cholera spreading were high because of lack of
A spot check in some of the areas showed that children in the
drought affected areas have already started showing signs of
contraction of water borne diseases such as diarrhea.
When Xinhua visited the only water dam in Korisa location in
Ijara sub-county in Garissa, there was beehive of activities;
local residents were seen busy drawing the visibly contaminated
water with pungent smell and at some points compete with thirsty
livestock and wild animals.
"Thirsty wild animals are "fighting" with people over the
access of the only water source in this area. Residents were
forced to take turns day and night to keep way buffaloes from
the dam, but now we have given up because it’s extremely risky
to ward off the thirsty wild animals as they come in big numbers
and take a forcibly turn in drinking the water," a resident
Haret Nasteh said.
He said most livestock moved deep into Boni forest saddled
between Ijara and Lamu as the drought situation worsen on daily
basis in pursuit of greener pasture.
"As you can see this is our only water source. We, therefore
urgently appeal to the government and international community to
come to our aid urgently because if the situation is fast going
out of hand," he added.
According to Garissa County’s National Drought Management
Authority (NDMA), the dry spell is at an alarming stage in the
county noting that Ijara sub-county is the hardest hit due to
water points have dried up.
The authority said unlike previous dry spell, which only
affected families on hinterland, the current drought also
destabilized people living around the river line areas. Cases of
human-wildlife conflict has surged up into alarming proportion,
as thirsty wild animals invade human settlement in bid to get
water to consume.
Ijara sub-county administrator Mohamed Ahmed Dahir said the
county government is overstretched with overwhelming number of
families requiring water and food provision as it’s impossible
to provide all drought victims living different parts of the
"We would like to appeal to donors to intervene as the
situation is getting out of hands," he added.