Kenya

Wajir County: Drought Early Warning Bulletin for March 2015

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Drought Situation & EW Phase Classification

Biophysical Indicators

Some rains were received at the last week of the month under review.

Pasture and browse conditions continued to deteriorate.

The county’s 3-monthly VCI was 4.5, implying the county plunged into the extreme drought status.
The county’s SPI was 0.02 with all sub-counties having an SPI value of within the normal range.
Water accessibility remained a major constraint as distances to major water sources increased and some shallow wells reduced their water output rate as others dried. This condition improved slightly following the onset of rains during the last week.

Socio-economic Indicators (Impact Indicators)

Pastoralists’ migrations continued in the county as pastoralists struggled to find at least some pastures in limited parts of the county There is a high drought risk that could fast progress to emergency given that the short rains under-performed and the onset of long rains season was late. Livestock production affected significantly in terms of the worsening body conditions due to poor feed and the corresponding long distances to trek to water sources from grazing fields.

Milk production and consumption reduced further negatively affecting the incomes realized from trade of the commodity. Incomes generated from sale of livestock and milk declined further due to poor performance of markets within and out of the county. Terms of Trade remained poor over the month.

Nutritional welfare of the households was negatively affected as increased rate of malnutrition was recorded especially among the children below 5 years of age.

Current Drought Risk

The current drought risk is high considering that all environmental, production, access as well as utilization indicators are all out of approaching minima levels. The severity of the drought will accelerate as access to pasture and browse continued to be a challenge coupled by the increased distances to reliable water sources. These inadequacies have overtime led to the gradual weakening of animal body conditions, and the already stumpy purchasing power of pastoral households.

The 3-month SPI indicates the county plunged into extreme drought situation over the month under review implying that the MAM rains that had the onset late in the month will be a crucial determinant in the wellbeing of the county’s major economic backbone. The month having been marked by poor markets for livestock, low milk production and consumption due to unavailability and rising prices, signified a high risk drought situation and further deterioration in environmental conditions could plunge the county into a humanitarian catastrophe to the already vulnerable pastoral households.