Baringo residents struggle with drought and conflict over resources

The drought situation continues to escalate rendering 2.7 million people food insecure, among them residents of Baringo county who have to withstand the ravaging drought and inter-clan conflict over the remaining scarce resources.

At the start of the drought, Baringo was classified under the alert stage of drought classification meaning it needed minimal interventions. However, as the drought escalated, the county slid into alarm stage needing urgent assistance.

In its drought response in the county, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) recently launched the Cash Transfer programme in Tangulbei in support of the affected families. "The drought has mostly affected pastoralists counties leading to massive loss of livestock and livelihoods. For the Kenya Red Cross Society, it is our duty to offer humanitarian support to those affected like what we are doing today," said Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, KRCS.

A total of 1,546 households (HH) are targeted for monthly cash transfers of 3,000 Kenyan Shillings over a period of four months and in three different sub-counties that are worst affected by the drought. In Baringo North, 210HH are set to benefit within Kaptilomwo & Kuikui in Barwesa areas. Additional 805 HH in Tiaty have been targeted in Tangulbei, Kokwototo, Chepkalacha, Komolion/Loyeya, Kadokoi, Naudo, Chesakam and Kapao areas.

Another 531HH are set to benefit in Baringo South specifically Mukutani, Kiserian, Chemongirion and Kasiela/Arabal. These were communities affected by recent conflict in Baringo.

"Our intention is to increase the level of support and reach more people. We had a discussion with the county leadership and had to prioritize the most affected communities due to limited funds," said Dr. Gullet while addressing residents in Tangulbei.

"We truly thank the Kenya Red Cross Society and its Baringo Branch for always being the first responders every time we have a crisis in the county. We thank you for the Chesirmion Dam that you constructed in Tiaty during the 2011 drought crisis and the Kolowa irrigation project," said H.E. Mathew Tuitoek, Deputy Governor, Baringo county.

As a county, we are minimizing over dependence on rain fed agriculture to irrigation schemes such as Kolowa. In the time being, we continue to support the affected residents through distribution of food," added the Deputy Governor.

The area Member of Parliament Hon. Kamama also commended the KRCS for its exemplary humanitarian work. "The Chesirmion Dam constructed during the Kenyans for Kenya campaign is located within my constituency serving 40,000 people. This is one of the many projects in Baringo county by the Kenya Red Cross and we don't take them for granted," added Hon. Kamama, MP Baringo.

More residents are being supported through provision of clean water where KRCS has rehabilitated three boreholes. Tangulbei Water Supply that will serve 32,900 people and 30,000 animals, Yatya Centre will cater for two schools with a population of 700 pupils, 800 community members and 13,000 animals. The Nginyang SDA borehole will also cater for three schools with 800 pupils and 7,000 community members.

The interventions in Baringo also involve peace talks between the Pokot, Ilchamus and Tugen communities who have ben fighting for control of available resources. KRCS has been on the lead to initiate peace between the warring clans.

The other 12 counties in the drought alarm stage are Marsabit, Garissa, Mandera, Isiolo, Kwale, Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Tana River, Kilifi Wajir and Lamu. Those in the alert stage are Embu (Mbeere), Kajiado, Kitui, Meru (North), Tharaka Nithi, Laikipia, Makueni, Narok Nyeri (Kieni) and Taita Taveta.