Turkana District occupies the area of North Western Kenya to the west of lake Turkana in the rift valley province. Turkana is the

largest district within Kenya and covers an area of 77,000 square km. It borders Marsibit and Samburu Districts in the east, Baringo and West Pokot Districts in the South and in the North shares international boundaries with Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda.

Turkana district shares the same administrative boundaries with the catholic Diocese of Lodwar. The district is divided into 17 administrative divisions i.e. Kapedo, Lokori, Kainuk, Lokichar, Central, Turkel, Loima, Oropoi, Lokichoggio, Kakuma, Kalokol,

Lokitaung, Kibish, Kaaleng, Koouro and Kerio. The same are further divided into 58 locations and 156 sub locations and 3 constituencies.

The expansiveness of the districts and the poor road network makes it difficult for transportation of people and their goods. Increased number of traffic accidents together with the banditry and insecurity renders travel very risky, particularly early mornings or late evenings.

The 1999 National census population of Turkana district is 447,000 people. 70% of this population is nomads and therefore the concentration of this district population is always determined by rainfall, water and browse.

The population density varies between one and seven persons per square km with a sex ratio of male/female 92:100. This low population

density is due to the harsh environment conditions. Many deaths can occur due to raids and drought (which leads to famine and lack of water and pasture for the livestock).

The district is hot and dry for most part of the year. Average rainfall in the plains is about 300-400 mm falling to less than 150mm in the arid central parts. Rainfall is erratic and unreliable and famine is a constant threat. Turkana has a very low agricultural potential and is only suitable for extensive rearing of indigenous livestock. The urban population has no real economic alternatives for survival. There is a lack of employment opportunities and unavailability of adequate development funds, thus most of the people in urban centers and settlements have to be provided with famine relief food.

Due to low productivity of the rangelands and the high variation of rainfall, pastoralists are forced to move frequently to exploit the

available resources between the seasons. Their movement depends on the security situation. Relatively safe areas in the central parts of the district have high concentration of pastoralists as compared to Northern, North-Western and Southern areas, which are prone to armed raiding activities.


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