Kenya's First Lady Visits Drought Hit Marsabit
Kenya's First Lady, Her Excellency, Margaret Kenyatta, on Wednesday 22 Feb 2017, toured North Horr, Marsabit, to assess the drought situation and empathize with the affected residents of the area.
Marsabit County, located in the North Eastern part of Kenya, is one of the hardest drought hit areas among the 13 counties in the Alarm Stage of drought classification.
Garissa, Isiolo, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu, Mandera, Wajir, Samburu, Turkana, West Pokot and Baringo are the other counties classified under the alarm stage.
The ongoing drought has led to high malnutrition rates, poor pasture, and inadequate water resources which have further resulted in unseasonal migration, livestock deaths that have negatively affected farmers’ incomes and access to animal products, and ethnic conflicts in pastoral areas.
Through this visit, the first lady, accompanied by Marsabit Governor Ukur Yatani and Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Dr. Abbas Gullet, visited North Horr Health Center where she witnessed mothers and children undergoing mass screening for malnutrition triggered by drought related food deficiencies. She also donated a second Beyond Zero Mobile Clinic to Marsabit to supplement the current clinic that serves the most expansive county.
The First Lady noted that there are challenges of food shortages in Marsabit, but is positive that Kenyans will stand together during this difficult period.
“It is encouraging to be here seeing so many Kenyans come together in the face of a tremendous challenge. The Government together with the County Governments have moved in with speed to support the affected families. Their efforts have been complemented by many local and international partners”, she said.
She applauded the Kenya Red Cross for doing a commendable job by coming up with interventions such as Cash Transfer Programs and buying off livestock threatened by the drought, slaughtering them and distributing the meat to the affected populations for free.
“It is encouraging to witness today the spectacular response of the Kenya Red-Cross—along with many other stakeholders—to this crisis. Today I have witnessed innovative and realistic interventions that are making a difference to many affected families”, she added.
In her speech, she assured the drought stricken families of her support, “I, for one, assure everyone here who has been affected by the drought, that my office will continue to support relief efforts and that you will remain in our hearts and our minds”.
Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Dr. Abbas Gullet also called on Kenyans to join in and support those affected by the ongoing drought.
“Millions of Kenyans have been affected and are in dire need of assistance, for Ksh 3,000, you can easily support one family for 1 month”. He said.
The first lady’s tour came to a close where she flagged off food stuff donated by the government of Kenya.