3000 Isiolo, Meru and Samburu residents benefit from food donations
More than 3000 hunger-stricken Isiolo, Meru and Samburu residents have benefited from food donations from the Chandaria Foundation in partnership with Nairobi and Isiolo Rotary clubs and the Village Trust.
At least 300 families in Tigania East, 150 in LMD, Burat ward and 100 families in Archers Post in Meru, Isiolo and Samburu counties received maize and wheat flour, cooking oil, fortified porridge flour and cereal rations, enough to last them for a month.
Mr Nelson Mburu, the Foundation’s representative, said the program targeted the sick, elderly, pregnant women and vulnerable families to cushion them against pangs of hunger.
“This is part of our efforts to cushion Kenyans in areas hard hit by drought to ensure they have decent lives,” Mr Mburu said while asking Kenyans to show compassion by sharing with their needy neighbours.
To ensure no candidates miss this year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams, the Foundation has also distributed food to 44 primary schools and two children homes in Isiolo and Meru.
The Isiolo beneficiaries are Waso, Mwangaza, Pepo la Tumaini, Kipsing, Ngaremara and Leparua primary schools, Samburu’s Lorubae, Girgir, Lopesiwo, Golgolitim and Lukisin schools while the rest are from Meru.
Victors and Hanifa children's homes in Isiolo and Meru respectively also benefited.
Munanda, Njotene, Ribui, Mukalamatu, Mukuiru, Mutunduru, Mweromalia, Laiboncha, Luthie, Ntirutu, Kiremu Lii, Linjoka, Kilera, Kambiti, Kieni Kiraja, Rikiau and Kandubai primary schools are among the schools in Meru that will benefit from the program.
Others are Limbine, Thau, Murichia, KK Nkengechia, Ntalami, Muramba, Mwanika, ACK Ngaintethia, Thinyaine, Twale, Manjiiri, Kamavioro, Soteni and Mituntu schools.
Most of the selected primary schools have in the recent past reported a surge in attributed to hunger and stoppage of the school feeding program by the government.
Hundreds of pupils in schools within parts of Igembe, Tigania and Buuri in Meru have dropped out of school to help their parents and caregivers search food and pastures for their livestock.
Teachers who spoke to Nation.Africa reported reduced attention span and concentration among pupils in their schools due to hunger.
More than 10 learners in Isiolo where the drought situation is in alarm stage and a few in Samburu have been reported either sleeping or fainting in class due to hunger.
A principal at one of the secondary schools within Isiolo town recently said a student at the school fainted after skipping meals for more than a day.
“Majority of the parents are unable to pay for the food leaving most of the learners hungry. Sometimes, we give the needy students food to carry home and share with their parents,” the principal revealed.
More than 150, 000 residents in Isiolo are faced with hunger due to drought that has caused depletion of pastures and drying of water sources in the region that is predominantly pastoralist.
Village Trust economic advisor, Dr Sarah Kilemi said the government must, while looking for sustainable solutions to the food and nutrition insecurity, offer short term interventions such as food distribution to rescue hunger-stricken Kenyans.
Reports indicate that more than five million Kenyans in 31 counties are faced with hunger with the majority of the counties affected being in arid and semi-arid areas.
“We must make sure hungry Kenyans are alive to enjoy sustainable development by providing them with food. The government must also come up with measures to harvest rain water for use when drought strikes,” she said.
During Samburu’s food distribution at Archers Post Catholic Mission, beneficiaries lamented how they were going for days without food as pastoralism which they rely on had been dealt a huge blow by the dry spell that is Kenya’s worst in four decades.
Ms Anna Lenapangai said their children were no longer going to school due to hunger as the majority of the livestock had died and others were emaciated thus fetching lower prices at local markets.
Depletion of pastures and drying of water sources has seen milk production drastically reduce, affecting nutrition status of children below five years.
“Learning has been affected because there is no food at home and in school. Our remaining livestock cannot fetch enough money to buy food to take us for about a month because they are weak,” she said.
Asking the government to intensify humanitarian support to hungry Kenyans, the beneficiary said many families had been reduced to beggars due to disruption of their livelihoods.
Another beneficiary, Mr Lodo Lelenguya from Wamba said due to desperation, some of the women had resorted to illicit brewing to provide for their families.
“The rations will take us for some time. We appeal for more from the government that we wholeheartedly supported,” he appealed.
Samburu Governor Jonathan Lelelit last week appealed to the government to buy off emaciated animals to cushion pastoralists, saying 10, 000 animals were at risk of dying in seven days.