In northern Kenya, drought may prevent some herders from voting

LENGUSAKA, Kenya, August 2 (Reuters) – In Kenya‘s northern Samburu County, a severe drought has forced herders to trek hundreds of kilometers in search of pasture and water, meaning some may be missing those scheduled for August 9 elections without voting.

People are more focused on saving their animals and livelihoods than voting.

“The problem is that our shepherds have gone very far to look for pastures… They will not have a chance to come back to vote,” said Paul Paradisi, manager of the Koiting site in Samburu County, which has a population of about 6,800.

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Poor rains mean around four million people in Kenya are currently facing acute food shortages, and cases of child malnutrition have risen by half in parts of the country. Continue reading

To cushion the impact, the government and Kenya Red Cross will spend around 24 million shillings ($202,190) to buy cattle for slaughter in Samburu County.

The meat of the animals is returned to the shepherds after killing.

Mary Yanaiyo, a mother of eight from Koiting Location, told Reuters that people were suffering because of the lack of rain and soaring food prices.

“The children have gone far away to graze the cows and we don’t know when they will come back,” she said as government officials and Red Cross workers distributed meat behind her.

Kenya will hold presidential, general and local elections on August 9th.

($1 = 118.7000 Kenyan Shillings)

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Reporting by Thomas Mukoya; Writing by George Oblutsa; Edited by Alexander Winning and Gareth Jones

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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