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Nairobi (AFP) Jan 22, 2014
Northern Kenya is at risk of drought if current weather trends continue, the Red Cross warned Wednesday of the harsh areas awash with guns where people depend on animals for their livelihoods.
"The short rains lasting October, November and December failed, and we have not had rain so far in January," Red Cross Secretary-General Abbas Gullet told AFP, noting rains are not now expected until April.
Gullet said assessments underway this week would help determine whether the problem is on a scale that local governments would be able to handle on their own, or whether national agencies would have to get involved.
The counties most at risk are Turkana, Baringo West Pokot, East Pokot and Marsabit, he added.
Marsabit is particularly vulnerable because of a perennial conflict between two pastoralists communities. Clashes in recent weeks have left scores dead and security forces were deployed to restore calm.
The areas around the towns of Wajir and Mandera in the country's northeast are also at risk as rainfall there was insufficient, Gullet said.
In 2011 two successive failed rainy seasons in the space of 12 months led to the driest year since 1951 in arid regions of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda.
The drought decimated herds and had a devastating impact on pastoralist communities.
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