Drought in the North of Kenya is reported to have claimed the lives of an unknown number of people.
Drought in the North of Kenya is reported to have claimed the lives of an unknown number of people. Cattle are also reported to be dying from thirst and some estimates have put the numbers lost at more than half the livestock of the northern parts of the country.
A report from the official Kenya News Agency says the deaths among the northern tribes have been caused by malnutrition. It also says that the number of children suffering from diseases caused by malnutrition, washiorkor and arasmus, have increased. About 34,000 people are estimated to be in need of famine relief - about half the total population in the area.
Marsabit hospital, which is in the centre of the area affected by the drought, is treating patients with malnutrition symptoms. The District Medical Officer of Health there said about half the patients had complained of "chest and stomach pains and body swelling aggravated by starvation."
The District Agricultural officer has said that more than 200,000 cattle had either died or moved into other districts.
Rains which usually fall in December did not come, and in some areas no more rain is expected until March or April. In Marsabit, crops have failed twice bringing many more people to the towns in search of food.
Bobisa, forty miles from Marsabit town, is typical of the arid countryside where the failure of rains can bring death. The waterhole there is now dry and the Gabbra tribesmen who live there must now travel with their camels and cattle as far as Marsabit to fetch water. Carcasses litter the roadside - grim testimony of how serious the situation has become.
The Kenyan government has assured the nation that it is fully aware of the famine situation and that measures are being taken to ensure ???ffs are being distributed in the 12 districts in serious difficulty
??? Statement from the office of the President on January 12th said ???gs of maize and 1450 packets of wheat soya blend had been distribute ???sabit in the last six mantra. The statement said relief is also being ???ded for other famine areas.
Drought conditions south of the Sahara desert have worsened considerably over the past few years. Some experts believe this may be part of a change in climatic conditions. The Sahalian region of West Africa has been without rain for seven years.
SYNOPSIS: The waterhole at Bobisa which used to keep the cattle alive in this arid region of northern Kenya has dried up. The december rains did not fall, and drought now threatens with famine half the sixty-thousand people who live in the north.
The Gabbra tribesmen of Bobisa are now faced with a forty mile trek to Marsabit town to fetch water.
An unknown number of people so far reported to have died from malnutrition.
Thirst and hunger had driven many from the countryside to the towns in search of food. Some of those who remain are forced to beg water from travellers.
The official Kenya News Agency reports that the number of children suffering from diseases caused by malnutrition has increased.
Two crop plantings have failed in Marsabit because of the drought and in most areas, no more rain is expected until March or April. A famine relief committee quoted by the Kenya News Agency has described the situation as alarming.
The Government has assured the nation it is fully aware of the famine situation. A statement from the President's Office earlier this week said measures are being taken to ensure relief reaches the affected areas promptly.
The statement said maize and other foodstuffs have already been distributed in the twelve districts where the people are in serious difficulty.
More relief is promised by the government, which said it has well-planned machinery for examining the situation regularly to avoid a crisis developing.
In the past six months, the government said twelve-hundred bags of maize and just on fifteen-hundred packets of wheat soya blend have been distributed in the Marsabit area.
Drought conditions south of the Sahara Desert have become steadily worse in the past few years. In the Sahalia region bordering the desert, several West African countries have been without rain for seven years.
Some experts believe the drought may be part of a change in climatic conditions which is bringing the desert further south.
Camels flourish on the sparse vegetative still available, but they can fast and go without water for several days even while travelling with heavy burdens. The distance these people must travel to get water demands they also load their shelters on the camels.