Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Press,
As you are all aware, the long rain season of April- May 2020 and subsequently the short rains of October – December 2020 largely failed with less than 20% rainfall amounts being received in Mandera County. The low and erratic rainfalls are increasing in frequency and severity and resulted in depressed pasture, acute water scarcity and food shortage.
Our situation was made worse by locust invasion which wiped out pasture in most parts and lately we have reported an outbreak of Rift Valley fever in Rhamu Dimtu Ward. Out of a total of 244 water pans in the county, only 50 of them harvested water and even these were not full to capacity which meant they all dried up shortly after the depressed rains.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are faced with widespread drought across the county, the failed rains coupled with locusts invasion have caused a severe food insecurity bordering on a humanitarian crisis. Our pastoralists are already losing animals and several households cannot cope with inflated prices of food with recent increase in fuel prices and lock down of 5 counties including Nairobi where most supplies come from.
The situation is dire and the county government despite interventions cannot cope with the demand for water, livestock feed and food for vulnerable families and communities. We need urgent help with food rations, livestock feed and nutrients and water trucking to over stretched areas.
I take this early opportunity to appeal for help and support from the National Government, and request development partners and well-wishers to come to our aid and avert this looming humanitarian disaster caused by climate change. Our county is facing a serious food shortage. With the Holy Month of Ramadhan approaching, in the next 11 days if the rains do not come, we face a looming disaster that can be avoided.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Having realized suppressed rains of less than 20% of the usual rainfall amounts, we have anticipated these challenges owing to the rainfall patterns and put in place considerable levels of interventions to the best of our efforts and limited resources. While only the intervention from God is what can effectively bail us out, we have left no stones unturned in our limited circumstances. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of these strategic interventions in readiness for these expected extended dry spell.
The strategy of Mandera County government in the water sector is to implement a short term drought emergency water supply which involves provision of water through water trucking, rapid response maintenance and the repair and rehabilitation of boreholes while implementing long term resilience building efforts such as drilling and equipping of boreholes and the construction and rehabilitation of major pans.
In order to effectively respond to all reported borehole breakdowns within 24 hours, we have positioned two rapid response maintenance teams which are based at Elwak and Mandera respectively to help reduce the time lag between the time when a breakdown occurs, its repair and restoration of supply.
To mitigate the suffering of our people, the county Government has hired additional 31 water bowsers in order to ensure there will be uninterrupted supply of water to trucking centers to compliment seven trucks owned by the county.
We have responded to drought emergency by drilling and equipping of emergency boreholes over the last five months. A total of 75 boreholes were drilled of which 51 were successful. The last 10 of the 51 boreholes are in the final stage of being equipped.
We have carried out desilting of 35 strategic water pans which were heavily silted in preparation of the long rains. We have deployed Ward Water officers to the 30 wards to coordinate emergency response to water distress.
Currently there are 312 water trucking centers distributed as follows;
Mandera East 6, Arabia 8, Lafey 29, Mandera North 30, Banisa 65, Mandera West 106, Kutulo 15, Mandera South 22 and Kiliwehiri 31.
We have also provided portable plastic water storage tanks in strategic locations as part of the response mechanisms. However, we still have huge gaps and we request partners to complement our interventions. All these efforts are geared towards meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 6 of clean water and sanitation which is critical for the survival of our livestock and people in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In terms of supporting vulnerable families with food rations, Mandera County Government through the Special Programmes department distributed food rations to at least 43,744 households in the months of February and March 2021. We are looking at scaling up these interventions to cushion more people.
The supplies included 547 metric tonnes of rice, 219 metric tonnes of Maize flour and 131 metric tonnes of cooking oil. The number food beneficiaries include 11,243 persons in registered Orphanages, Schools with special needs students within the county, destitute and extremely vulnerable families identified during the distribution period, people living with HIV, vulnerable non locals and persons living with disabilities.
Thank You and God Bless You All.
Mandera Drought Situational Update 2021– Governor’s Speech