Tuesday, 22 February 2011



Ladies and Gentlemen, Northern Kenya Caucus comprised of all Ethnic tribes that live in Northern Kenya and Including Turkana, Pokots, Rendille, Samburu, Borana and Somali are releasing this press statement to sensitize The Government, Corporate Partners, Donor Nations and Organizations, The Media organization that we the people of Northern Kenya are demanding that the Kenyan Government institute a serious approach to the famine and drought situations in Northern Kenya and the rest of the country.

Since the colonial period Northern Kenya has had to undergo perennial famine and Drought as many of you here know. It  covers a big land mass in Kenya which is vulnerable to weather  and natural shocks including Droughts, Famine, climate change, adverse heat among others. The people of Northern Kenya have been marginalized for a period of close to half a century without proper attention from the Government of Kenya to address their problems in terms of drought mitigation programmes, Poverty eradication and Educational sector. As we are talking, Millions of people in northern Kenya are facing hunger and an uncertain future as the drought continues to destroy their livestock and crops.

Today we are talking about our immediate concern. Most of you are aware that we, the people of Northern Kenya are mostly pastoralists and living in dry harsh terrains. Northern Kenya is one of the poorest regions in the country because of marginalization and corruption albeit it having the capacity to make an outstanding steady impact on the economy of Kenya.  The drought is also taking its toll on the population's health and the number of malnourished and ill, increases by the day. And there seems to be no great attention to the magnanimity of the whole situation even as the government keeps on insisting that there is food around. We are estimating approximately 10 Million Kenyans are facing the hunger and starvation after a poor harvest, crop failure, a lack of rain and rising food prices. The lack of rain has left dams dry, pasture is dwindling and herders say tension is rising as animals and humans compete for resources and in light of this we also demand security be enhanced as the herders go to the borders in search of pasture.

The issue we are raising here is not only about food supplies but what has the government through its various ministries; I am talking of the Ministries of Agriculture, Northern Kenya and Arid Areas and The one for Special programmes. Infact, Drought and famine is fit to be the top priority of the Special programmes business of the day. When these Ministers keep telling you there is enough food and our people are dying, Things do not add up and we put the blame on to the government for not fulfilling the basic requirements of its citizens even after passing of the new constitution. With no rains forecast over the next three months and the government saying that the country's food reserves are dwindling fast, some in this region might not make it through. We are also perturbed by the delegation of PS’s on a fact-finding mission who went to determine the extent of the drought is not advising the government correctly. 

We are told, The Ministry of Water has already earmarked Sh1.4 billion to go towards construction of bore holes. We are not seeing those boreholes doing anything and the situation will be similar next year. Just recently, a study warned that, Kenyans should prepare for low rains between March and May. The Kenya Meteorological Department has also predicted erratic long rains. What measures is  the Government is doing regarding drought mitigation are short term largely short-term and comprise supply of water, distribution of food and buying livestock from pastoralists to mitigate losses due to drought. This even is done in specific areas in Northern Kenya. We want a Long term Projects that will sustain our people. We demand that government through the ministry of finance meet its promise of sponsoring children from these communities in order for them not to be thrown out of school due to lack of fees and as there parents go in search of pasture.

According to various organizations that help our people time and again, the regions hit most are Turkana, Pokot, Samburu, Marsabit, Moyale, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera. All these areas are severely affected. In Some areas like Mandera and Lodwar, we can’t imagine the impact drought and famine has done to communities living along those areas. You will find scatted animals even in the bush, Wildlife animals emaciated and even dying.

Northern Kenya Caucus, reacting to the drought and famine that is devastating our people are launching and appealing for a very generous response from Local and international emergency appeal and through co-operation from our various partners, Corporate Institutions and all well wishers. to help contain the situation in the ground. Currently many organizations are focused on the drought but we have not reached the masses and we will be doing these through the religious organization, both Muslim and Christian Organizations and will be appeal to various Corporate Institutions.

The effect of Famine and Drought has much impact on the people of Northern Kenya in:
1. It affects people lives and normal ways of life and that of animals. People starve and go without water for sometime which makes their life horrible.
2. The Educational sector is greatly affected as many families travel away because of drought to neighbouring countries in search of pasture and water for themselves and for their animals. In September, mobile schools operating in areas with shallow wells and dams had to close due to a lack of water and pasture and by November, all mobile schools were closed down as the drought intensified, drying up boreholes and forcing pastoralists to move across the border to Somalia in search of pasture. The disruption of the mobile school means pastoralist children have not had lessons since November 2010. We hope things will be back to normal so that the mobile schools would be back up and running again this year, weather permitting, although rains are not expected until March.
3. Tourism has also been affected as animals like Elephants, Zebras, Gazelles die and their carcasses strewn in the bushes.
4. Costs of Goods are going up including normal household items for the daily consumption.