Drought hits Turkana and Samburu . Because of a decades-old drought, they and their herds are dying from starvation. The recent years have seen a steady decline in the numbers of herd animals, directly as a result of the drought which is blighting the lives of the tribes.The Samburu (approximately 75,000 strong) are cattle owning pastoralists who mainly live off the products of their herds. Milk is the principle food, augmented with the blood from living cattle or from sheep and goats slaughtered for meat in the dry season. The semi desert conditions preclude any form of agriculture apart from in the highland areas of Nyiru, Kulal and Lorogi where maize and vegetables are cultivated on smallholdings (Manyattas). This has afforded the Samburu in these areas the opportunity to settle and lead a more sedentary life, a divergence from their true origins as pastoralists.
UN agencies and non-governmental partners to determine the impact of the 2005 long rains on drought-affected Kenyans found pockets of critical need persisted, particularly in the southeast and rural areas of the Coast and Northeastern Province.
The unusual pattern of the long rains this year, with most of the heavy rain falling in May instead of April, affected this year's harvests, particularly in the Eastern and coastal lowlands, including Makueni and Kitui Districts. WFP's drought emergency operation, which was initially launched in July 2004 after poor rains in eastern, southern and parts of northern Kenya left 2.3 million people in need, has been extended for six months until February 2006 at a value of US$25 million. This is the second time the operation has been extended.
"The good news is that there has been an improvement in some areas that
were severely affected by last year's drought, namely in Turkana, Marsabit,
Samburu, West Pokot, Laikipia, Baringo, Isiolo, Kajiado and Narok districts,
so the number of Kenyans in need of our assistance has dropped by 800,000,"
said WFP Country Director Tesema Negash.