Laikipia East, West, Central, Nyahururu, and North Districts: Drought Monthly Bulletin, December 2009

Situation Report
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Situation overview

- During the month of December the rains resumed and they are heavy. Rumuruti received heavy rains, which caused damage to property and the Lorian swamp broke its banks and destroyed houses and crops and resulted in the death of one child.

- Water was available and most of the dams and pans refilled while pasture regenerated in the pastoral areas of Mukogodo.

- Crop improved, though they were affected by the failure of the rains in November and hopes for harvest of beans were high, though the maize that was affected might survive if the rains continue properly in January in Laikipia Central and Laikipia East.

- In Ngarua and Nyahururu, which are the high potential areas, the rains were not as good as in Laikipia East but farmers who usually plant only during the long rains (March to June) planted quick maturing crops as they had a total crop failure during the last season.

- Human/wildlife conflicts subsided as most of the elephants moved to Samburu Game Park.

- Cattle body condition was fair and improving, though the milking herds were still poor in the pastoral areas and the marginal agriculture areas. Cattle increased in the markets and the prices started picking up. However, the general population of cattle was seriously reduced by the drought.

- Livestock production did not improve the food security situation as big number of families lost their animals to the drought that went on for the last three years and there has been no calving. Retail shops were actually selling parked milk from Uganda.

- The nutrition status of children below five years worsened, with the percentage of those rated at risk of malnutrition rising to 14% from the previous month's 11.

- As the pastures improve chances of conflicts are evident as pastoralists usually start cattle rustling with an aim to restock.