Significantly low rainfall is causing the number of people facing starvation to grow by the day, according to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA).

“The current drought phase classification indicates that the trend is worsening in most counties, many of those affected are the most vulnerable, including the elderly, the sick, mothers and children under the age of five,” the agency said in a report.

The increased figure of 1 million was recorded after an assessment test in the last quarter of 2016.

The hardest hit amount to “20% of the population in pastoral areas and 18% in marginal agricultural areas,”.NDMA said.

The government released $88.5 million earlier this year to counter the effects of the drought that has been blamed on the La Nina weather pattern that has rocked the northeast and southwest.

Also Monday, Kenya announced it would purchase more than 100,000 emaciated animals from pastoral communities in nine arid counties to prevent losses to pastoralists.

The purchases have a dual purpose. The animals would be used to feed the starving populations as the drought has resulted in a trail of thousands of dead animals.

The NDMA says the October-December long rains were the shortest in recent years, starting late and ending early.

Anadolu Agency