Ijara District: Drought Monthly Bulletin, November 2009

Situation Report
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Situation overview

- Low intensity rainfall of fair distribution was received in all the sentinel sites during the last week of month under review and weather of high humidity continued to prevail across the entire district.

- The browse and pasture status exhibited great improvement both in quality and quantity in most parts of the district with exception of some land pockets lying in the northern and central rangelands of the district that still suffered low pasture levels caused by poor rainfall.

- Most of the medium and large water pans in all of the livelihood zones got adequately recharged with water and are expected to serve consumers for the coming couple of months.

- Increase in average prices of all categories of livestock was observed in all the livelihood zones with exception of that of sheep that was recorded at Ksh1,002 in October but dropped to an average of Ksh993. Cattle prices appreciated from Ksh 8,792 in October to Ksh 9,947.

- The livestock body condition and health improved and was rated generally fair for all categories in all the livelihood zones, with goats exhibiting the best body condition and sheep exhibiting the poorest body condition in the entire district.

- Compared to last reporting period, the nutrition status of children under fives (5 years) (based on MUAC<135mm measurement) rose from 26.7% to 28.3% . This was attributed to lack of supplementary feeds for children for the last four months under the ongoing EMOP. The situation may have been exacerbated by increased malaria, bilharzia infections, diarrhoea and low milk production that still affected most of the livelihood zones. The most affected sentinel sites in this case were Aballatiro, Koranhindi and Sangailu. The lack of SFP in the district was caused by a breakdown of communication between district medical authorities and WFP but is currently being resolved.

- There was inward migration of livestock into the district during the month following the good progress of the rains and resultant migration back into the district of livestock from areas in Lamu and Tana delta districts.

- The water situation improved, resulting in decrease of household distance to water sources compared with preceding month. Average trekking distance for households to water sources was recorded at 1.1km compared to the 4 km recorded in October while average distance between grazing areas and water sources was recorded at 8 Km for November against 11.1 km in October.

- Cases of CCPP that affected goats combined with cases of CBPP and Blank quarter anthrax that affected cattle were reported in Hulugho ,Sangailu, Kotile, Dololo, Sangole and Bulto Hama areas that lie within both the agro-pastoralist and pastoralist livelihood zones. Trypanosomiasis remained a chronic problem in all livelihood zones just as in the past months due to the endemic presence of the tse tse fly in the area and affected all categories of livestock at will.

- The mortality rate of cattle increased to 4.8% compared with 3.7 in October while that of sheep and goats was recorded at 4.6 and 3.8% respectively as opposed to 2.5 and 2.6% in October. The average birth rate for cattle during the reporting period was recorded at 9.7% while that of sheep and goats recorded 7.5% and 8.5% respectively.

- The availability of milk for consumption in all the livelihood zones remained low.

- Generally, the drought situation in the entire district was at alert stage and improving.