Kenya loses 2.61 mn livestock to drought

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Nairobi, March 2 (IANS) Kenya has lost some 2.61 million livestock to drought in the past months as the crisis worsens in arid and semi-arid areas, the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) said in a report on Thursday.

The NDMA said the number is about 5 per cent of all the animals in arid and semi-arid areas, which totaled 52.8 million, Xinhua news agency reported.

The most affected animals that have died due to starvation in two worst-hit counties, namely Marsabit and Kajiado, were sheep and cattle, said the NDMA in its February update on the crisis.

“The drought situation continued to worsen in 22 out of the 23 arid counties. This is attributed to the poor performance of the 2022 short rains coupled with four consecutive failed rainfall seasons,” the NDMA said.

According to the agency, pasture in the arid areas is completely depleted, worsened by high temperatures.

Kenya has ramped up drought mitigation responses, with Rebecca Miano, the cabinet secretary for the Ministry of East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development, noting that the government has released 2 billion Kenyan shillings (about $15.68 million) to secure relief food distribution.

Kenya is one of the countries in the Horn of Africa region that has been hit harder by the worst drought in about 30 years, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with up to 5 million citizens facing starvation. The other two affected Horn of Africa countries are Somalia and Ethiopia.



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