Thousands of people in the North Rift region of Kenya are facing severe drought and more action is urgently needed, says the country's Red Cross.
The distribution of relief aid has been underway in some areas, but most residents still require relief food, the NGO declares in its latest report.
The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) conducted a rapid drought assessment in the area on 26 September 2010.
The region received stable rains from December 2009 to May 2010, the report says. Herdsmen had enough pasture and water for their livestock.
However, the situation rapidly changed for the worse and drought has dried up most water points. Vegetation in the low lying areas has been exhausted by livestock, forcing herdsmen to migrate into the most insecure areas of Lokori, Lokichoggio, Urum, Kibish and Kainuk in search of pasture and water.
Following the onset of drought in the region, the Government and humanitarian organisations have moved in to address the situation which has become more serious following weather predictions by the Meteorological Department.
In Turkana County, the worst hit areas include Lochor - Aikeny, Naorus, Kalotum, Kapua (Kalokol Division), Lochor – Ekuyen, Lorugum, Urum, Namoruputh, Turkwell and Lobei (Loima and Turkwell divisions).
A local media outlet, Citizen TV, reported a sad incident where a family at Urum (Loima Division) slaughtered and ate their dog, after going without food for days.
KRCS Turkana Branch has assessed the drought situation in Urum, Lokiriama, Namoruputh, Lobei, Lochor – Ekuyen, Lorugum and Turkwell villages. Most families in Urum, Lokiriama, Namoruputh, Lobei, Lochor – Ekuyen, Lorugum and Turkwell villages rely on relief food aid provided by the Government.
The affected communities received the last food aid ration in June 2010. Most of the residents rely on relief aid. Households affected by drought are: Loima 5,597, Turkwell 5,479, Kerio Division, 2,396, Kalokol Division 5,366, Central Division 3,665. The most vulnerable groups include widows, orphans, the elderly and children.
Kenya Red Cross has been distributing relief aid in parts of the larger Turkana County to populations affected by floods and other disasters. This month, the Society distributed livestock to some families in the area under a re-stocking programme.
More on Kenya Red Cross Society: http://www.kenyaredcross.org/