Agencies raise famine alarm in North Eastern Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya (PANA) - Drought monitoring agencies in Kenya have sounded an early famine warning following a severe drought situation in Kenya's semi-arid north Eastern province.
A week-long rapid survey in the province by government agencies and non-governmental organisations indicated that Mandera was the most affected district with rising deaths of livestock due to water shortage and lack of pasture.

Close to 40 tonnes of yellow maize from the US has been transported to the north eastern provincial capital of Garissa, 374 km north east of Nairobi, in the past one week.

The survey in the area mainly occupied by pastoralists was conducted by team led by the deputy national arid lands cordinator, Mohamoud Maalim. The delegation included government officials as well as representatives of the World Food Programme, US Agency for International Development and from Médecins Sans Frontières.

Maalim said the water problem in the district required urgent intervention if lives of people and livestock are to be saved.

Meanwhile a report to the assessment team by the Mandera district disaster management committee says the recurrent drought and the recent devastating El Niño phenomenon have greatly reduced the local community's endurance to tragedies.

Local leaders in the district have appealed to the government and the donor community to come to their rescue before it is too late, saying that the tragedy currently facing them had ''crossed the line of alarm into that of an emergency.''

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