Kilifi on drought alert as long rains fail

droughtWilting maize in a Magarini farm

Kilifi County is on hunger alert after the expected long rains failed.

According to the meteorological services in Kilifi county, during the March-April-May long rains season, the county received very minimal rainfall.

Last year, the short rains also performed poorly, therefore, this year’s long rains were the only hope.

Kilifi County is characterized by high poverty estimated at 71.7 percent and widespread food insecurity affecting approximately 67 percent of the households.

In February, the National Drought Management Authority warned of a drought situation in Baringo, Isiolo, Kilifi, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir and Turkana

According to the weatherman, Kilifi had received a long term mean of only 15 percent by the end of May.

Kilifi county director for meteorological services Ramadhan Munga on Thursday said the season will end on July 2nd.

“We are left with about 30 days to the end of the season and we have received very minimal rainfall. We expect sunny interval during the remaining days with occasional showers in few places. This season failed and the dry conditions will continue,” he said.

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According to the department, a large section of planted maize during the season failed to germinate while those that germinated are wilting.

“The October-November-December short rains last year performed poorly. People had hopes in the long rains but it has also failed. Before the long rains the county was already at the stress stage now we have moved to alert stage. People used the little they had to prepare their farms and they will receive nothing,” said Munga

According to the Kilifi county drought early warning bulletin, the county is sliding to drought.

The bulletin is prepared by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA).

According to the bulletin, from April the county was in moderate drought.

“On average the county recorded moderate vegetation deficit, four sub counties fell within the moderate vegetation deficit while Ganze, Kaloleni and Kilifi South recorded severe vegetation deficit. The vegetation condition was below compared to the same time last year,” read the bulletin.

Livestock farmers have also been affected as pasture condition recorded decline in quality and quantity compared to the previous month mostly in first and second dekads of May.

Department of Devolution, Public Service and Disaster Management executive Committee Member (CECM) Prof Gabriel Katana said the county has already initiated a proactive role in arresting the situation.

“We foresaw this and already a committee led by the Agriculture CECM is in place to roll out measures ahead of drought. We are doing a multi-sectoral approach to the situation and all departments are involved. Drought touches on all the departments,” he said

He said the rains are poor and crops are in bad condition which calls for early planning.

About the Author

Jumaa Charo
Jumaa Charo is a veteran journalist . He is passionate about issues of Human Rights and Security.

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