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Kenya: Thirdway Alliance – State of the Nation: Is the Starvation Experienced in 12 Counties Really Caused by Drought and Famine, Or is in Fact Caused by Failed Leadership and Theft of Public Money? (21.03.2019)

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Turkana Drought: Ruto knows how to insult an Nation!

There is a lot of fake news about what is happening. We have been told that 11 people have died but that is not true. No one has died as a result of the drought and we are working round the clock to ensure that no one dies of hunger” – Deputy President William Ruto

The Deputy President William Ruto better just shut-up, listen to some advice and do something sincere, if it is first time in his life since he left the role as a wandering preacher. It is time for the hustler, the grand standing man of big PR Stunts to act swiftly and actually coordinate the government combined with the whole Nairobi machinery and all authorities. To ensure that the 1 million whose in jeopardy over a warned drought in Turkana gets help.

This is if the DP cares or even has a heart, unless he wants to continue to live lavish and enriching himself on others tragedy, because that is what he does. He sits in air-conditioned home, with a nice green garden, big pool and expensive cars. While fellow citizens go without food for days, because the DP cannot do his, neither any of the other Cabinet Secretaries.

This is really insulting to the people of Turkana. A people who deserves the state to act upon this. Even some people have suggested that its happen every ten years in the region. This means, the state has known about this, as this has happen every ten year. Not only the possible FEWS NET warning in December, which stated this and the state didn’t upon that. Not the Local Government, neither the National Government. They both didn’t act or see it fit to act differently, as the drought, the shortfall of rain was on the horizon. Still, they didn’t think of the consequences, because they are living good, secured and has a pantry with food, anyway.

There been reports of dead in various of villages and counties, however, the state does whatever it can to downplay this. Which is a disgrace, not only to the deceased, but to the public, which knows better. It is insulting to the ones who are struggling and lacking the basics, because the state didn’t plan to grain storage, education in caring for the environment or lean months. Alas, the state haven’t prepared or secured, the food insecurity, which it should have. Instead, they have busy scheduling corruption scandals.

The Jubilee, the DP and the cabinet combined with the local government in the drought hit region. Got to act, wisely and with measures to secure the lives at stake in Turkana. That is, if they really care or more preoccupied with keeping power by any means, while citizens are starving… it is happening on their watch. Still, they are trying to deflect that, its one million citizens who struggles to eat. They got nothing and awaiting handouts, because the state haven’t been concerned about their food insecurity.

DP Ruto, shut-up, listen and take some advice. DP Ruto, please open your ears, get some valuable advice and do something. Not try to PR Stunt this away. That is demeaning and insulting to the public of not only Turkana, but anyone who cares about humanity. Every single person dying because of this, is a foolish death. Because, you and your people could have ensured and facilitated the public and region. So, that it would be prepared for the upcoming dry-season, the shortfall of rain and the IPC 3 level. However, you where busy doing everything else. Peace.

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.

Communiqué of the Consultative Meeting of IGAD Member States on the Current Drought Situation in the Region (31.03.2017)

IGAD: Nairobi Declaration on Durable Solutions for Somali Refugees and Reintegration of Returnees in Somalia (25.03.2017)

 

Statement of IGAD Council of Ministers’ Consultation on the Current Situation in the Region (17.03.2017)

World Bank Group President Calls for Urgent Action on Hunger Crisis (08.03.2017)

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2017—World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim today issued the following statement on the devastating levels of food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa and Yemen:

“Famine is a stain on our collective conscience. Millions of lives are at risk and more will die if we do not act quickly and decisively.

We at the World Bank Group stand in solidarity with the people now threatened by famine. We are mobilizing an immediate response for Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. Our first priority is to work with partners to make sure that families have access to food and water. We are working toward a financial package of more than $1.6 billion to build social protection systems, strengthen community resilience, and maintain service delivery to the most vulnerable. This includes existing operations of over $870 million that will help communities threatened by famine. I am also working with our Board of Directors to secure the approval of new operations amounting to $770 million, funded substantially through IDA’s Crisis Response Window.

The World Bank Group will help respond to the immediate needs of the current famine, but we must recognize that famine will have lasting impacts on people’s health, ability to learn, and earn a living. So we will also continue to work with communities to reclaim their livelihoods and build resilience to future shocks.

We are coordinating closely with the UN and other partners in all areas of our response. We know that resolution to this acute crisis will not be possible without all humanitarian and development actors working together. We call on the international community to respond robustly and quickly to the UN global appeal for resources for the famine.

To prevent crises in the future, we must invest in addressing the root causes and drivers of fragility today and help countries build institutional and societal resilience.”

Background

A famine means that a significant part of the population has no access to basic food, suffers from severe malnutrition, and death from hunger reaches unprecedented levels. Children under five are disproportionately affected. A famine can affect the well-being of a whole generation. Famine was officially declared on February 20 in South Sudan, impacting approximately 100,000 people, and there is a credible risk of other famines in Yemen, Northeast Nigeria, and other countries. Ongoing conflicts and civil insecurity are further intensifying the food insecurity of millions of people across the region, and there is already widespread displacement and other cross-border spillovers. For instance, food insecurity in Somalia and famine in South Sudan are accelerating the flow of refugees into Ethiopia and Uganda. The UN estimates that about 20 million people in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are on the “tipping point” of famine. Drought conditions also extend to Uganda and parts of Tanzania. The last famine was declared in 2011 in Somalia during which 260,000 people died.

Kenya: Recuitment and Deployment of National Police Reservists (01.03.2017)

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Statement by the IGAD Executive Secretary on the current drought in the Greater Horn of Africa (08.02.2017)

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The Drought Situation

The Horn of Africa is in the midst of a major drought resulting from La Niña and reduced moisture influx due to the cooling of the ocean water in the east African coast. Whilst Member States of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are adept at managing droughts, what makes the current drought alarming in the Equatorial Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) region is that it follows two consecutive poor rainfall seasons in 2016 and the likelihood of depressed rainfall persisting into the March – May 2017 rainfall season remains high. The most affected areas include, most of Somalia, South-eastern Ethiopia, Northern Eastern and coastal Kenya, and Northern Uganda.

The climate predictions and early warnings produced by IGAD through advanced scientific modeling and prediction tools, which were provided to Member States and the general public, have elicited early actions (preparedness and mitigation measures). Highly comparable to the 2010 GHA drought, the current depressed rainfall and resultant poor vegetation conditions since March 2016 eroded the coping and adaptive capacities of the affected people. It also depleted water points, reduced crops, forages and livestock production, increased food insecurity, and adversely affected the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the region.

The number of food insecure human population in the region is currently estimated at 17 million. Certain areas in South Sudan and Djibouti are already under an emergency food insecurity phase, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) classification scale. In Somalia, the number of food insecure people doubled in the last year alone.

In the drought affected cropping lands (over Deyr area in Somalia and coastal Kenya), 70 to 100 percent crop failure has been registered. Livestock mortality has been particularly devastating amongst small ruminants with mortality rate ranging from 25 to 75 percent in the cross border areas of Somalia-Kenya-Ethiopia. In addition, livestock prices have dropped by as much as 700 percent.

Terms of trade have declined in the region, with Ethiopia registering a figure of almost 10 percent. This is exacerbated by a substantial negative impact on external balances, as well as a small impact on financial sector-soundness in the other countries. The overall impact on fiscal positions is a likely increase in current budget spending and deterioration in the fiscal balance and weak adaptation capacity.

Despite the downtrend in global agriculture commodity prices, the drought has resulted in an increase in domestic food prices in the region. Cereal prices (e.g. maize) have gone up by about 130 percent, while those of critical food items such as oils, beans and wheat flour increased by at least 50 percent in some pastoralist areas. The limited financial and institutional capacity for effective adaptation to reduce exposure and vulnerability will result in limited safety net to the most vulnerable households.

Drought Response in the Horn of Africa

With the early warning and technical assistance provided by IGAD, Member States have initiated early action to mitigate the adverse impact of the current drought.

Somalia and South Sudan have declared drought emergencies. Kenya announced a doubling of expenditure on food relief to ease the pressure in the drought-affected counties, while Uganda shifted some of its development resources to finance emergency response in order to address food insecurity and livelihood protection. In Somalia, the President of the Federal Republic, as well as state and regional administrations led the issuance of appeals for support and coordinated actors and efforts that scaled-up food security activities to respond to the humanitarian needs of the country.

The USD 730 million allocated by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia boosted the response effort which, coupled by an above-average meher harvest, resulted to an almost 50 percent reduction in the number of food insecure people, for example, from 10.2 million to 5.6 million.

IGAD continues to reinforce the actions of its Member States using them as guide for complementary action on drought responses. Below are some of the major actions being undertaken by the IGAD Secretariat and its specialized institutions to manage the drought in the region:

  • Through its specialized institutions, IGAD continues to monitor and provide analysis of the evolving situation and advise Member States and the general public on measures to mitigate its impact. The 45th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF 45), which ends today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will present the consensus climate outlook for the next season (March – May 2017) and its likely impact on disaster risk management, livestock production, water, energy and health etc.
  • A multi- humanitarian coordination mechanism led by IGAD that includes UN agencies, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and other Non-State Actors (NSAs) is effectively working to coordinate the response effort, as well as guide the recovery process once the situation stabilizes.
  • IGAD is also working with relevant national authorities, UN agencies and CSOs in each member state on the development of an Integrated Regional Appeal that will articulate the priority initiatives within the response plan for each Member State.
  • Furthermore, IGAD will support institutional arrangements and capacity building that needs to be in place to allow humanitarian response plans to be implemented in timely, effective manner.
  • A regional Ministerial Meeting will be convened by IGAD at the end of this month to launch the Integrated Regional Appeal and secure financial resources, which further complements the response undertaken by national authorities and humanitarian and development partners, while at the same time building resilience to climate-induced disasters.

Through the IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) Platform, the ultimate purpose and objective of IGAD and its Member States is to mitigate the adverse effects of disasters through building resilience of relevant national institutions, communities and people, to end drought emergencies and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in the region.

In this regard, IGAD will remain vigilant in monitoring and advising the people of the region on the drought situation through its’ specialized institution, the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) domiciled in Nairobi, and shall continue to support and complement regional and national actions on drought response and recovery.

With continued drought, Horn of Africa braces for another hunger season (20.12.2016)

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Agricultural support critical now to protect livestock, equip families to plant in rainy season.

ROME, Italy, December 20, 2016 – Countries in the Horn of Africa are likely to see a rise in hunger and further decline of local livelihoods in the coming months, as farming families struggle with the knock-on effects of multiple droughts that hit the region this year, FAO warned today. Growing numbers of refugees in East Africa, meanwhile, are expected to place even more burden on already strained food and nutrition security.

Currently, close to 12 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are in need of food assistance, as families in the region face limited access to food and income, together with rising debt, low cereal and seed stocks, and low milk and meat production. Terms of trade are particularly bad for livestock farmers, as food prices are increasing at the same time that market prices for livestock are low.

Farmers in the region need urgent support to recover from consecutive lost harvests and to keep their breeding livestock healthy and productive at a time that pastures are the driest in years. Production outputs in the three countries are grim.

Rapid intervention

“We’re dealing with a cyclical phenomenon in the Horn of Africa,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division. “But we also know from experience that timely support to farming families can significantly boost their ability to withstand the impacts of these droughts and soften the blow to their livelihoods,” he stressed.

For this reason, FAO has already begun disbursing emergency funds for rapid interventions in Kenya and Somalia.

The funds will support emergency feed and vaccinations for breeding and weak animals, repairs of water points, and seeds and tools to plant in the spring season. FAO is also working with local officials to bolster countries’ emergency preparedness across the region.

“Especially in those areas where we know natural hazards are recurring, working with the Government to further build-up their ability to mitigate future shocks is a smart intervention that can significantly reduce the need for humanitarian and food aid further down the line,” Burgeon said.

Kenya is highly likely to see another drought in early 2017, and with it a rise in food insecurity. Current estimates show some 1.3 million people are food insecure.

Based on the latest predictions, the impacts of the current drought in the southern part of the country will lessen by mid-2017, but counties in the North – in particular Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir and Mandera – will steadily get worse.

Families in these areas are heavily dependent on livestock. Now, with their livelihoods already stressed – the last reliable rain they received was in December 2015- they will get little relief from the October-December short rains, which typically mark a recovery period but once again fell short this season.

In the affected counties, the terms of trade have become increasingly unfavourable for livestock keepers, as prices of staple foods are rising, while a flood of weakened sheep, goats and cows onto local markets has brought down livestock prices.

To ensure livestock markets remain functional throughout the dry season in 2017, FAO, is training local officials in better managing livestock markets — in addition to providing feed, water and veterinary support.

After two poor rainy seasons this year, Somalia is in a countrywide state of drought emergency, ranging from moderate to extreme. As a result, the Gu cereal harvest – from April to June – was 50 percent below average, and prospects for the October-December Deyr season are very grim.

To make matters worse, the country’s driest season – the Jilaal that begins in January- is expected to be even harsher than usual, which means Somali famers are unlikely to get a break anytime soon.

All indications are that crop farmers are already facing a second consecutive season with poor harvest. Pastoralists, meanwhile, are struggling to provide food for both their families and livestock, as pasture and water for grazing their animals are becoming poorer and scarcer by the day – in the south, pasture availability is the lowest it has been in the past five years.

Some five million Somalis are food insecure through December 2016. This includes 1.1 million people in Crisis and Emergency conditions of food insecurity (Phases 3 and 4 on the five-tier IPC scale used by humanitarian agencies). This is a 20 percent increase in just six months.

The latest analysis forecasts that the number of people in Crisis and Emergency conditions of food insecurity may further rise by more than a quarter of a million people between February and May 2017. Similar conditions in 2011 have resulted in famine and loss of lives, and therefore early action is urgently needed to avoid a repeat.

FAO calls on resource partners to urgently scale up assistance in rural areas, in the form of cash relief, emergency livestock support and agricultural inputs to plant in the April Gu season.

If farmers cannot plant during Gu – which traditionally produces 60 percent of the country’s annual cereal output — they will be left without another major harvest until 2018.

Farming families in Ethiopia, meanwhile, are extremely vulnerable as they have not been able to recover from the 2015 El Nino-induced drought. Some 5.6 million people remain food insecure, while millions more depend on livestock herds that need to be protected and treated to improve milk and meat production. Here, too, better access to feed and water is critical.

The crop situation is relatively stable after the country completed the most widespread emergency seed distribution in Ethiopia’s history. FAO and more than 25 NGOs and agencies reached 1.5 million households with drought-resistant seeds.

As a result of enabling farming families to grow their own food, the government and humanitarian community saved close to $1 billion in emergency aid, underlining that investing in farmers is not only the right thing to do but also the most cost-efficient.

FAO’s Early Warning early action work

Somalia and Kenya are among the first countries benefiting from FAO’s new Early Warning Early Action Fund (EWEA). The fund ensures quick activation of emergency plans when there is a high likelihood of a disaster that would affect agriculture and people’s food and nutrition security.

The fund will be part of a larger Early Warning Early Action System that tracks climate data and earth imaging to determine what areas are at risk of an imminent shock and will benefit from early intervention.

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