Due to drought, nearly 3.5 million people are hungry: UN

It is estimated that nearly 3.5 million people are suffering from hunger due to acute drought, and these reports came by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), approximately 750,000 people in the country’s dry and semi-arid lands (ASAL) are in the middle of one of the most critical droughts due to three consecutive poor rainy seasons. The country has around 53 million people.

The level of the rainfall in northern Kenya’s arid- and semi-dry lands region was 26-50 percent lower than which was expected during the October to December rainy season.

According to Sources, Kenya has suffered a 70 per cent drop in crop production.

However, many countries have faced little or no rainfall since the last year 2020, and 80 to 90 percent of reservoirs and dams have dried up in Kenya’s largest country, Turkana, in the northwest.

Turkana is one of the hottest and driest regions worldwide, and communities that belong to lakeside can be no longer able to survive on fishing, warned OCHA.

More than 90 percent of water sources have dried up, and the rest of the sources are expected to last only between one and two months in the ASAL region.

As per the report, residents of Turkana are forced to spend their days simply searching for water and the distance to find water keeps rising.

People of Turkana have to walk more than 15 kilometres every day to take water from an untreated borehole for drinking and cooking.

According to OCHA observations, many children in Turkana and across Kenya’s drought-affected regions are forced to drop out of school to support their families in labour or survival activities. Girls walk long distances to help their mothers fetch water or sell firewood and charcoal. Boys migrate to other areas, seeking pasture for livestock.

Sammy Ekal, programme manager at the Turkana pastoralist Development Organization, a non-governmental organisation, said: In 2019, there were flash floods. After that, there was no rain, and the drought is biting even now. A more robust government and humanitarian effort are urgently needed in severely drought-affected areas.

In September 2021, the Government of Kenya announced the drought a national emergency as an estimated 2.8 million people scrambled for assistance.

Kenya’s government released two billion Kenyan shillings ($17.7m) in September 2021 under the National Drought Emergency Fund to respond to the ongoing drought situation in the country. But this has been slow to trickle down to the areas where it is needed most.