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Large-scale humanitarian action urgently needed to avert extreme food insecurity outcomes in

Marsabit County.

The devastating drought gripping Marsabit County has resulted to extreme water shortage, food

insecurity, migration of pastoral communities, widespread reliance on water trucking and food

donations. More than 50% of the households across the County have been hit hard and currently

are at the mercy of well-wishers having lost their livelihoods. Severe food insecurity levels are

likely to surge beyond the emergency and catastrophic proportions if no proactive intervention

measures are put in place. Large-scale humanitarian food assistance coupled with unhindered

humanitarian access is urgently needed to avert severe to extreme food insecurity outcomes in

Marsabit County.

Fig. 2: A pastoralist painfully drugs away one of his hundreds of sheep which has just died as a result of drought

pangs in Demo-Marsabit County

The ravaging drought has prompted pasture and water sources depletion in most parts of the

County leading to massive livestock deaths and migration of all livestock species to neighboring

counties including across

Ethiopia border. The

county has experienced

slightly above normal

livestock mortalities

(cattle 38,628, goats

85,825, sheep 112,879

and camels 34,832). The

depletion of water

sources is also putting

immense pressure on the

few available boreholes and dwindling water pans. Below average household milk availability is

expected to persist as livestock herds remain away from homesteads.

It is against this backdrop that Caritas Marsabit with support from Caritas Italiana, supported

drought affected populations of Demo and Kubi Qoti with food and water support.


Open profiling exercise was conducted to ensure that the most affected and vulnerable sections of

the community benefitted from the aid. This was facilitated through the community meetings. For

the food distribution criteria, beneficiary selection was agreed upon with the community and

village committees constituted and tasked with the responsibility of selecting the most deserving

beneficiaries. While selecting the beneficiary’s names, the community members were strictly

advised to follow the following agreed shared criteria of beneficiary selection but not limited to:

➢ Access to other Social safety net programs. Those without benefits from other sources shall

be given priorities as opposed to those with benefits.

➢ Herd size. The bigger the herd one owns the wealthier one is considered in pastoral

communities. Therefore, those with small herd coupled by no other benefits from

elsewhere compared to those with large herders and have assistance from other sources are

considered for the support.

➢ Household composition. The support basically targets households and therefore the

household size is critical. Number of children under five and elderly persons. Old persons

and under five are most vulnerable persons during drought and hard times. Therefore

household with old persons and under five with no support are given priorities during


➢ Disabilities and terminal illnesses. People with disabilities who has no support are

considered for the assistance.

➢ Income level. People with little income or no income suffers most during drought and hard

times therefore consideration is made to favour them.

➢ Household heads. Those households headed by single mothers or children are given

priority because they are most susceptible to any forms of discrimination and side-lining.

➢ Any other criteria deemed necessary by the local communities provided that it addresses

vulnerability in a bid to bring into par vulnerable persons with other persons in the society.

Figure 1 community meeting and beneficiary’s identification


Through this project, 200 severely affected households translating to approximately 1200 persons

in Demo and Kubi Qoti in Marsabit County were reached out. So as to prevent acute malnutrition

and starvation, Caritas Marsabit procured and distributed essential food items to the 200 severely

affected households. The ration size per household per month are as follows;

1. Rice ...................... 25kgs

2. Beans..................... 10kgs

3. Vegetable oil.............. 2 litres

4. Sugar....................... 2kgs

5. Milk........................1carton