Somalia: Garissa fights disease, hunger in long drought


There have been suspected cases of cholera in parts of Ijara, Garissa county, and an increase in respiratory diseases in the county, according to the state drought management agency.

The National Drought Management Authority yesterday stated in the monthly bulletin that though no major disease outbreak has been reported due to the severe drought, there is an increase in morbidity for respiratory tract infection, diarrhoea, pneumonia and skin disease.

NDMA also stated that the risk to malnutrition for children under five has increased from 21.7 per cent last month to 25.7 per cent.

NDMA Garissa county coordinator Abdi Noor Dubow said the drought stage is at the alarm category and deteriorating.

He added that in this month, household food consumption is expected to decline as incomes fall with the declining livestock prices and limited on-farm wage labour opportunities due to reduced crop production.

“There has been further deterioration of livestock body condition in most parts of the pastoral zone through March. This has resulted in reduction of milk production availability and consumption, thus increasing risk of child malnutrition,” Dubow said.

Noor said the county has formed a drought response centre where all resources intended for the management of drought are channelled to.

“We do not want a situation where organisations have similar strategies in drought management. The centre, which is under the county governor’s office, helps channel resources in one place to avoid duplication,” he said.

Noor said the interventions that the government and various agencies are carrying out are not able to reach all beneficiaries as the subcounties are on different levels of drought.

In Balambala subcounty, 50 to 55 per cent of people are in need of food aid, Ijara is at 35-40 per cent, Dadaab 35-40 per cent, Lagdera 25-30 per cent, Fafi at 25-30 per cent, while in Township subcounty, the number of people in need of relief is at 25-30 per cent.

These figures, Noor said, are likely to go up in the next months as drought continues to hit the county.

NDMA called for the expansion of pasture and fodder production initiatives, livestock insurance index, repair of existing water supplies and water bowsers, and provision of water treatment chemicals.