PACIDA has embarked on a coordinated emergency response programme reaching drought-affected communities in Marsabit County with life-saving interventions and mitigating the harsh effects of drought and scarcity of water and food.
“We are on the ground, our emergency response teams are providing food, water, cash support and mobilizing other stakeholders to join in the efforts. We want to ensure that no human life is lost in Marsabit County due to drought,” says Wario Guyo, PACIDA’s Programme Director.

Food distribution to vulnerable communities
To curb malnutrition, PACIDA is distributing food directly to the affected communities in North Horr, Moyale and Laisamis sub counties. Food items distributed include maize flour, wheat flour, cooking oil, beans and peas. Targeted households include the most vulnerable groups such as women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Water provision
PACIDA’s water facilities in Laisamis, Loglogo, Marsabit town, Bubisa, Burgabo and other locations are now critical resources for local communities who desperately need water for domestic use and for animals to drink. Every morning, donkeys can be seen lining up around water sources to fill up jerricans with water. A water bladder has been positioned strategically at Yaa Garra enabling the local communities to access clean drinking water both for humans and animals.
Rehabilitation of Burgabo water facilities started in mid-May following an inter-agency assessment. Engineers have concluded that the water reservoir with a capacity of 20,000 litres of water can be safely rehabilitated and put into active use.
In Illeret, PACIDA is constructing two shallow wells at Watalii location. Each well will be able to provide fresh water to about 3,000 people every day. The well will be equipped with a solar motorized pump that will transfer water to raise water tanks positioned strategically around the villages. The tanks have piping facilities that bring the water closer to the community members.

Emergency Cash support
Through direct cash and mobile money transfer, PACIDA is ensuring that drought-affected populations acquire the means to access food and water provided by commercial entities and the market economy. Cash gives the local communities the power to choose based on household needs. For example, people with children suffering from malnutrition can buy food with protein and vitamin content to build body mass and fight diseases, while those with ailing members of household can opt to spend on medicine.
A Marsabit County drought emergency appeal has been launched by PACIDA to help reach 240,000 people and a Pay Bill number 807579 and Account Number ‘AID’ is available for those who are willing to donate money.

Unprecedented needs
“This year we have not received any rain, the animals already started dying a few months ago. The few that are left have migrated with the herders to Buri, Maikona and other places where the situation is less severe,” says Golo Wario, former Chief of Bubisa Location. “People depend on animals for survival, but the animals have become very thin and cannot provide meat. We are worried, our survival is threatened,” he says.
Golo further explains that animals do not have food, and as a result, diseases have increased since the animals do not have the necessary immunity to resist even treatable diseases. Short rains usually come in October, but he fears that when the time comes the situation will have deteriorated even further. Long rains start in April to June, but this year communities of Marsabit have not received sufficient quantities of water.
Sori Salesa, 50, a resident of Mayatta Sales Boru is worried that expectant mothers are facing malnutrition challenges because they need to build their body reserves. “Our animals have migrated, our children cannot get milk because the animals have migrated to distance places looking for pasture,” she says.
According to Famine Early Warning Network (FEWSNET), food security outcomes are likely to deteriorate across the greater Horn of Africa through September, due to delayed onset of the rainfall season and significantly below-average March to May rainfall performance. [Read more: http://fews.net/east-africa]

Advocacy and public awareness
PACIDA is also engaging in advocacy efforts and sharing information about the situation in Marsabit with national media to inform the public and decision-makers at higher levels of government and non-governmental sectors. In May, PACIDA invited a team of journalists for field visits to Laisamis, North Horr and Moyale sub-counties to witness the situation, interview the affected members of communities and document the drought situation. In a series of television features tiles ‘Drought Diaries’, information was able to spread across the country and from this effort, well-wishers began to respond through cash and in-kind assistance