In Kenya, one of the areas hardest hit by the drought is the West Pokot District in the northern part of the country. In January, thousands of the Pokot people had migrated to Uganda in search of food and water.
One of those who’s been involved in relief work in the area is Rev. Joseph Murupus, national vice-chairman of the National Council of Churches of Kenya. From West Pokot, he told English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua there have been clashes between ethnic groups from Kenya and Uganda over grazing land for their animals.
He says, “Yeah, even as I’m talking now. Yesterday (Sunday), about 40 cows were taken and one man was killed, a man about 42 years old. They have all gone to the Ugandan border. And the situation is very bad.”
Some parts of Kenya have received rains this month, but have any fallen in West Pokot? Murupus says, “Rains have just come a little bit and it’s not yet very, very, very good. The animals are still dying…. We have seen government response a little bit by giving some food and different NGOs, non-governmental organizations, trying to assist the people…. What is also worrying is that people already have not plowed their farms because they are still weak and the farm inputs are also very expensive.”
Asked to further explain the health of the people in West Pokot, the minister says, “Their health is very weak. They had meningitis just a week ago and we lost about seven people. That is between the border of Kenya and Uganda. And they have already received some vaccinations. And it is still worrying because now the people are still sleeping in the bush and mosquitoes are just terrible because of the rains that have come.”