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Nairobi Star Tuesday, 27 January 2009 news 9


Pressure is mounting
on the government to close
refugee camps in Dadaab,
Lagdera and Fafi districts as
the prolonged drought has
affected animal pasture and
water supply.  
Civic leaders want the
refugees either sent back to
Somalia or relocated. They
claim that the refugees had
degradated the environment
by overgrazing.  
Garissa County Council APPEAL: President Kibaki URGED: PM Raila
vie-chairman Bishar Gure
Gedi, with ten councillors, Vehicles dropping refu- Elsewhere, Cabinet min-
said it was difficult to drill gees, he said, avoided roads, ister Mohammed Ibrahim
a bore hole of less than 400 preferring detours that cre- Elmi has called on the Min-
feet depth and find water. ated paths which ruined istry of Livestock Develop-
Water pans no longer store pasture and contributed to ment to begin relocating
water for more than 15 soil erosion.   livestock from drought-
days.  “We have more prob- stricken areas to save pas-
He said they were out- lems than other Kenyans. toralists from animal and
numbered by refugees and Lagdera and Fafi are hard finalcial losses.
that the Somalis were being hit by drought because of He predicted that by mid
favoured by the government the activities of the refu- February, livestock in arid
and aid agencies. gees,” Gedi said. areas such as North Eastern
Gedi fears it would not be “We are appealing to and parts of Eastern prov-
long before locals started re- President Kibaki and Prime inces would start dying due
lying on refugees for food.   Minister Raila Odinga to ei- to lack of water and pas-
He said there were more ther repatriate them to their ture.
than 137,000 refugees in country or relocate them to He told reporters in
Lagdera alone and 65,000 other parts of the country.” Malindi that the ministry
in Fafi and each family The leaders blamed the should not wait until the
brought with it an average refugees for insecurity as animals were too weak to
of three cows and five locals were forced to fight start a hurried livestock off-
goats.   over water and pasture. take programme.

Special famine team set
up in Coast Province
A special committee of photo/file
bureaucrats and parastatal
chiefs has been established
in Coast Province to assess
the food situation in the
Their mandate is to find
methods of beating drought
and famine.
Coast PC Ernest Munyi
said the committee would
map out relief food distri-
bution plans to deal with
the current hunger ravaging
millions of adults and
children, .
In a letter to provincial HUNGRY: Famine stricken children wait to be served.
heads of departments, the
PC identified members director of medical services Kilifi, Kinango and Malindi
of the committee which and the provincial director districts.
includes the provincial of the public health and To alleviate the situation,
director of agriculture, sanitation. agricultural officers are
the managing director of According to the pro- educating farmers to adopt
the Coast Development vincial director of agricul- modern water harvest-
Authority, provincial direc- ture Phoebe Odhiambo, ing methods to address
tor of education, provincial thousands of residents of perennial food shortages.
director of youth affairs Kinango, Ganze, Bamba, Farmers are also encour-
and provincial planning Marafa and Vitengeni are aged to diversify their crops
officer. facing starvation due to instead of depending only
Others include provin- severe drought and famine. on maize, beans, cow peas,
cial director of livestock, Odhiambo attributed the green grams, rice and mil-
managing director of famine to erratic rain pat- let. They are being advised
the Coast Water Services terns in the last two years, to grow drought-resistant
Board, provincial direc- leading to poor harvests crops like cassava, yams
tor of fisheries, provincial in farming pockets in and sweet potatoes.