Aid on the cards as 2.7m Kenyans stare at hunger

Marsabit drought

A herder dumps a dead goat onto a pile of carcasses in Illeret, Marsabit County. The devastating drought in Northern Kenya has left pastoralist communities without pasture leading to death of hundreds of thousands of livestock.

Photo credit: Nicholas Komu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kwale county has at least 200,000 hunger-stricken people.
  • The County has received 4,500 bags of rice and 3,600 bags of beans, targeting 10,019 residents.

Some 2.7 million Kenyans in 23 counties are still in dire need of relief food as the drought situation worsens.

Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna said in Kilifi yesterday that Sh680 million has been set aside for a cash transfer programme to supplement relief food supply in drought-hit areas. 

These are Kwale, Lamu, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Turkana,Samburu, West Pokot, Baringo, Kajiado, Narok, Laikipia, Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Makueni, Kitui, Marsabit, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera counties. 

Mr Oguna was supervising food distribution through the Caravan of Hope Programme. The state has bought 52,000 50-kilo bags of rice and 44,000 bags of beans in the programme’s first phase. 

In other areas, the government will include canned meat in the food package, bought from herders through Kenya Meat Commission’s off-take programme.

Affected regions

Kwale county, which has at least 200,000 hunger-stricken people, has received up to Sh78 million of the money. Residents receive Sh3,000 every month. 

Kilifi County has received 4,500 bags of rice and 3,600 bags of beans, targeting 10,019 residents. The government has spent another Sh350 million to truck water in the affected regions. 

Mr Oguna said the state is continuing with the livestock off-take programme in which it buys cattle, goats and sheep from pastoralists, which are slaughtered and distributed to the hungry.

This is besides Sh2,000 monthly stipends people with disabilities and the elderly receive.

Mr Oguna urged county commissioners in the affected regions to ensure they communicate to principal secretaries in the relevant departments for a refill whenever supplies run out.

Long rains season

Kwale County Commissioner Gideon Oyagi lauded the government’s efforts, saying, the supplies will ensure people have enough to eat until the rains return. Schools in Kinango and Lungalunga in Kwale will also benefit from the programme.

“We’ll work with the county governments to ensure there is supply of water in places where the dams are dry,” Mr Oyagi said.

School committees, he added, will ensure that, through a school feeding programme, candidates sitting their national exams eat at school before heading back home after writing their tests.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has predicted near-average rainfall in north-eastern and coastal regions through the March, April and May long rains season.

The enhanced rains will be expected in Lake Victoria basin, central and south Rift Valley, the north west and highlands east of the Rift Valley, including Nairobi.

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