MPs from the pastoralist areas have expressed fear that drought affecting seven Counties may interfere with the National Census set for next month.
The Counties that have been hit hard by the drought include Wajir, Isiolo, Baringo, Garissa, Marsabit, West Pokot and Samburu. Other Counties like Kajiado, Kwale, Narok, Laikipia, Tharaka Nithi have received some subsidised rains.
The legislators said that the drought is likely to interfere with the censors due to migration for pasture and water. They were speaking on Thursday at a press briefing in a Nairobi hotel.
Led by the majority leader Adan Duale, the MPs under the Pastoralists Parliamentary Group want the censors set for August 24 and August 25 be extended for more than one day to give time for those who have migrated to return homes.
Duale said between now and November when the short rains are expected in the country, the lives of people and livestocks in these Counties will be greatly affected leading to migration.
According to the drought situation report released on Thursday by Sunya Orre, the director technical services at the National Drought Management Authority, the number of Kenyans in need of food aid has increased by 400,000 from last month.
In June, 1.6 million people were in dire need of food assistance, but this is projected to increase to two million people by end of July.
The Garissa MP said there should be a deliberate attempt to set aside substantial resources for water tracking, rehabilitation of boreholes because they are currently overstretched, livestock off-take, food and security.
He said to conduct census on the.
“As we speak today, some of the people in Northern Kenya have either crossed to Somalia, Ethiopia or South Sudan in search of pasture and water,” Duale said.
He urged the director general of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics to address the unique situation in Northern Kenya as result of the drought when conducting the next census.
“It cannot be conducted in one night, 24 hours or 48 hours. It has to be done within a number of days that we all agree on, because you cannot get everybody in all these Counties in one night,” he said adding that he will raise an adjournment motion in relation to the drought situation.
Samburu North MP, Alois Lentoimaga said the government should ensure that every single person in North and Northern Kenya will be counted during the census.
“Our people are pastoralists and when there is drought, you cannot get them at home. So we want the government to make a deliberate effort to ensure that all our people are counted because this is a national phenomenon and we don’t know when the rains will come,” said Lentoimaga who is also the chair of the PPG.
Fatuma Dullo, senator Isiolo and deputy majority leader in the Senate said the government should prepare early enough for the drought that happens every year.
“ There was a fund under NDMA that has since stagnated because of regulations. It is high time that this fund is operationalized so that people living in those drought hit areas can benefit,” she said.