More than 1,000 vulnerable families from Cherab Ward in Isiolo County have benefited from assistance from the Kenya Red Cross Society, which seeks to cushion them from ravages of the ongoing drought that has hit the region.
The ward in Merti Sub-County is among those hardest hit by drought which has caused the drying of over 80 per cent of water sources in the county, resulting in resource-based conflicts and forcing residents to walk for more than 10 kilometres in search of water for domestic use and also for livestock.
Other affected wards are Oldonyiro, Burat, Garbatulla, Sericho and Chari.
Among the beneficiaries are residents of Dololo Dakiye and Dadacha Lafe who were displaced from their homes following the recent killing of three people and vandalism of a community borehole by armed bandits from neighbouring Wajir County which forced them to seek refuge in Malkagalla.
Every family is getting 10 kilogrammes of rice, two kilos of beans and one litre of cooking oil.
More than 140,000 Isiolo residents are in dire need of food, with the drought situation at alarm stage and worsening by the day, according to data from National Drought Management Authority.
Food hard to come by
Ms Fatuma Halkano, a beneficiary, said food is hard to come by and that their already emaciated livestock is being bought at throw-away prices.
“The drought has threatened pastoralism. I have lost more than 10 goats and herds of cattle due to lack of water and pasture,” Ms Halkano said, adding that the food assistance was timely.
Kenya Red Cross Isiolo County Coordinator Gregory Macharia said 1,000 families in Sericho Ward, Garbatulla will also each benefit from a monthly Sh5,000 cash transfer for the next three months, with the identification of beneficiaries now in the last stages.
“The intervention is meant to cushion the families against the biting effects of drought,” Mr Macharia said while flagging off the food consignment in Merti town.
Children out of school
Mr Molu Galgalo, a resident, said hunger has forced many children out of school, with the majority of them joining their parents in taking care of livestock and moving around in search of water and pasture.
“We are afraid the enrolment in schools will drastically drop in the future and we call for more interventions to ensure vulnerable families get enough food,” said Mr Galgalo.
The depletion of pasture and water has seen animal milk production drop, putting children aged below five years at a high risk of malnutrition.
“A big number of children below five years are malnourished because they no longer get milk and cannot access nutritious foods due to effects of drought,” Mr Yunis Roba, a community health volunteer, said.