MinBane

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Turkana Drought: State Officials knew about the drought, but didn’t act!

Today is a day of warning, where the government, the local government and its authorities haven’t been prepared or cared for it. In its ignorance, the citizens of Turkana and its draught is happening, because their representatives and the state haven’t prepared for the shortfall of food nor water in the region. Even if there was waning signs months ago.

This is not just made up that Governor Josphat Nanok of Turkana County, CEO of NDMA James Odur, CS of Ministry of Devolution and ASALs Eugene Wamwalwa and so on. Can put the blame on everything else, but not on the intial inaction of their own government post. Even if that is true, because the FEWS warned about this in August/December 2018, because of lack of rain. Still, the government kept pumping like there was no tomorrow. Did nothing about it or didn’t handle it all. Since, who would make a fuzz anyway, right?

FEWS Network Warning Des. 2018:

“Performance of the October to December short rains was highly mixed across Kenya, leading to below-average crop performance and inadequate replenishment of rangeland resources in rainfall-deficit areas. In many pastoral and southeastern marginal agricultural areas, rainfall was below 85 percent of normal, while rainfall in the rest of the country was above average. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely to persist in most pastoral and marginal agricultural areas through May, and an increase in the number of poor households in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected in localized areas of Turkana, Wajir, and Garissa by February” (FEWS Net, 31.12.2018).

Kenyan Government response:

“The National Government has provided total of Kshs. 1,351,196,000 for response during the period of February, March and April 2019 as follows: Food and safety net Kshs. 601,196,000. Support to household irrigation water storage program (excavation of small water pans) Kshs. 600,000,000. Support to water trucking, maintenance and rehabilitation of boreholes Kshs. 150,000,000. Water trucking by NDMA in Mandera, Wajir, Turkana, Garissa, Marsabit and Tana River and maintenance of water points in selected areas. Hunger Safety Net Programme cash transfers by NDMA in Turkana, Wajir, Mandera and Marsabit” (…) “Nevertheless, the below-average short rains have slightly increased the food insecure population from 655,800 in August 2018 to current number of 1,111,500, with the top 12 counties having a total of 865,300 food insecure people” (Government of Kenya – ‘BRIEF ON CURRENT DROUGHT AND FOOD SECURITY SITUATION IN ASAL COUNTIES, MARCH 2019’ 15.03.2019).

What is sad is the amount of people starving in a midst of draught, in region, where the state could have acted more swiftly and with more manpower. Because, they knew perfectly well that this was happening. This is in a region where Tullow Oil Company plans to drill oil with over 300 oil wells. Meaning, there is money and resources, which should lead to progress and development. So, that the region and county isn’t as impoverish as it is. However, there seems to be little or none of the seeds of the oil to go to needed projects or facilities to help out the locals.

Instead, the international oil companies, which reached an agreement last year in 2018. Have had the ability to drill for oil and the leaders have been pocketing money. While the state and the local county officials haven’t secure the public. That is what is the initial bargain in all of this. The public officials have been busy eating and now the public aren’t even getting bread-crumbs of the spoils. That’s what is even more sad about this situation. Knowing the region had hopes for the oil adventure and now seeing a drought, which brings even more despair.

Lochikar Basin haven’t brought anything to the local community, other than foreign investors pumping out their valuable resources, while the deal between Tullow and Government remains secret. As well, as the scarcity of water and other needed components of life, continue to run rampant in a region, which should have gotten some of the spoils of the wealth that is created there. Instead, the government cartels and public officials, who does not want to associate with the demise of the people in the drought, eat that up.

This could have been avoided, the state could have acted and the Turkana with their Oil should have had the resources to cope with it and be able to buy the needed imports of food and water. Alas, someone else is eating that, as long as the oil trucks are driving to Mombasa and the public see less or little of trade of it all.

While the sun is burning, little or no rain, while they await for a handout, when the government could have footed the bill, by the earnings of the oil alone. Peace.

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