Home NEWS County News Taita Taveta in alert drought phase as situation worsens in 8 counties

Taita Taveta in alert drought phase as situation worsens in 8 counties

NDMA officials before National Assembly committee (Photo/Abdiaziz Hashim)

The drought situation in the country has improved but 22 counties are still not out of the woods yet.

According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) CEO Hared Adan who appeared before the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Regional Development Tuesday, Taita Taveta is among the devolved units worst hit but has not reached a dire stage for the state to intervene.

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The early warning systems indicate that the coastal county which is in the alert phase is under tight surveillance.

“During the month under review, two counties reported an improving trend, 13 counties
recorded a stable trend, while eight counties reported a worsening trend. The drought has
continued to worsen in one county (Taita Taveta)” the report states.

The MPs engaged the NDMA team to discuss the drought programs/activities undertaken by the Authority in the last three years in the country and how the authority is prepared to deal with such cases in drought-stricken areas.

Adan further spelled out the role of the Authority which includes sharing data and comprehensive monthly early warning systems on the drought situation. This he said is complemented by information from other sources, particularly satellite data.

The report outlines positive impacts following the short rains which have significantly reversed the adverse effects of the drought experienced in the past five seasons.

It shows that 21 of the 23 ASAL counties reported normal drought phase during the month of July while Taita Taveta was classified in the Alert drought phase while Marsabit is in the Recovery phase.

The 21 counties in normal phase include Baringo, Kilifi, Kitui, Kwale, Laikipia, Lamu, Mandera, Embu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Wajir, Garissa, Kajiado, Makueni, Narok, Nyeri, Samburu, Tana River, Isiolo, Turkana and West Pokot.

The situation is worsening in Garissa, Kajiado, Makueni, Narok, Nyeri, Samburu, Tana River and Turkana counties.

Although various parts of the country have receiving rains, the improvement was further attributed to continued drought migitation measures by the government to deal with the ravaging effects.

The report further highlights the vegetation conditions with Taita Taveta, having moderate vegetation deficit hence the need for close monitoring and contingency planning.

The month of July 2023 indicated enormous improvement in vegetation condition across the ASALs compared to June.

Six counties including West Pokot, Turkana, Samburu, Laikipia, Tana River and Kajiado, recorded normal vegetation greenness.

16 others including Baringo, Narok, Makueni, Kitui, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Nyeri, Meru, Isiolo, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Lamu, Kilifi and Kwale recorded Above normal vegetation greenness.

The report paints a grim picture of a water crisis in the about 90% of the ASALs whuch are forecasted to be under generally sunny and dry conditions this month.

“Distances to water for households in 5 counties was below the LTA. The trend is worsening compared with the previous month. Distances in arid (pastoral) counties ranged between 2.5 and 7.6 km, with Isiolo recording lowest and Mandera recording highest distances to household water access”  the National drought bulletin reveals.

The distances in semi-arid counties ranged between 1.8 km to 6.3 km recorded in Laikipia and Kajiado counties respectively.

13 counties, including Baringo, Embu, Kajiado, Kilifi, Laikipia, Makueni, Marsabit, Narok, Nyeri, Samburu, Tharaka Nithi, Turkana and Wajir, showed a worsening trend in household access distances to water sources.

NDMA also defended the role of the County Steering Groups (CSGs).

Margaret Kalekye/Abdiaziz Hashim
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