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Turkana District: Drought Monthly Bulletin, May 2007

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SITUATION OVERVIEW

- In May 2007, the rainfall received across the district was slightly above average. LODWAR meteorological station recorded a value of 56.7mm- that rained for 5days of the month - this is lower than what had been recorded (92.9 mm) in April. It is also greater than the value of 32.7mm recorded for the same period of referenced (00-04) year.

- Due to the onset of the seasonal long rains, significant impact in terms of improved pasture has been noted at the lowland wet season grazing areas. Notable improvement in the browse conditions is also evident within areas that realized the early showers during the month under review. Moreover, shrubs and big trees are regenerating. This is attributed to the positive onset of the long rains that was expected to happen during this period of the year.

- Following the rains, most seasonal water sources were recharged. Therefore, access to water both by humans and livestock has improved significantly. This can be attributed to the availability of surface water and increase in the amount of water yielded by the underground water sources. This has in turn led to reduced distances and time taken, to and from the water sources.

- The body condition of most livestock species was fair in most parts of the two districts except the shoats found in the southern parts of the Turkana, which are yet to be vaccinated against Peste des petits Ruminants (PPR - locally termed as Lomoo/Lomanang'). Vaccination for PPR is being carried out through the effort and support of the district development partners (VSF-B through FAO, OXFAM GB, LWF, ALRMP and World Vision Kenya) and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries development. So far, the whole of Turkana North district and the western parts of Turkana South district have been successfully covered.

- During this month, shoats' mortality rates increased, from 3.4% in April to 5.2% in May. This is in spite of, the intervention by the veterinary services and other development partners, through the ongoing vaccination campaign and quarantine against Peste des Petits Ruminants in Turkana North & South Districts. Paradoxically, the mortality rates for the large stocks, decreased from a value of 12.9% in April to value of 4.2% during May. Slaughter rates could not be determined.

- Livestock average birth rates increased from 14.1% in April to 15% in May. This indicates the normal good year's breeding period associated with a moderate rainy season. The birth rates recorded are: - camels (16.9%), sheep (15.9%), cattle (14.6%) and goats (12.5%) respectively.

- Livestock sales rate of the small stock has significantly decreased in May to a value of 1.2% from 1.5% in April. This can be attributed to increased milk production and consumption; this is also due to increase in livestock prices.

- The household milk production across the Turkana North & South districts has significantly increased from a value of 19.4% in April to 29.5% recorded in May.

- The food security situation is fair but it is approaching the alarm stage.

- The malnutrition rate remained at 16.1% in May-07 just like the previous month. This rate exemplifies a return to the worsening trend in the nutritional status of malnourished children between (12-59) months. However, this situates the district at an alarm stage.

- The state of insecurity is still worse in the southern areas of Turkana South District especially, Lokori, Lomelo and Kainuk divisions. The factors accounting for this situation are: - the incessant attacks by raiders from East and West Pokot Districts; and the border dispute between the Pokot and the Turkana. In Turkana North district, Lokichoggio division has borne the brunt of the Toposa of southern Sudan while Kibish & Lapur divisions are also experiencing high levels of insecurity due to the attacks by the Nyang'atom (Dongiros) of Ethiopia.

- The peace between the Turkana community and the Merille people of Ethiopia is still holding and therefore, there is need to continue safeguarding it.

- On human health, there was cholera outbreak in areas a long river Turkwell, mainly in Kainuk, Katilu and Central divisions in Turkana South district. Inaccessibility to safe drinking water is a major challenge because many people still rely on water from riverbeds. In addition, poor sanitation due to lack of pit latrines/toilets is another cause of that epidemic.