More than 110,000 households in Kajiado County are facing starvation as the ongoing drought continues to bite.
School going children are finding it difficult to continue learning with classes recording less than half the pupils, according to a joint report by stakeholders on the mitigation of the growing impact of the drought.
On Tuesday, Governor Joseph Ole Lenku moved in and released an assortment of relief food to the first batch of more than 20,000 households distributed across the sub-counties.
This is about a third of the need as more families continue to slide in hunger after signs of the expected rains continued to diminish.
According to a distribution schedule seen by Nation, the food package includes 6 kilos of rice, 4 kilos of maize floor, 4 kilos of beans and 2 litres of cooking oil.
Although the food was dispatched to all the wards, the need analysis shows Matapato North and South, Lenkisim,Magadi, Loodokilani, Keekonyokie, Kuku, Imbirikani,Ewuaso Inkidong wards as most affected.
The food is also scheduled to benefit low cost estates in the urban and peri-urban areas with the most affected areas being Nonkopir and Kyang'ombe in Oloosirkon Sholinke ward, Kitengela and Kware in Nkaimurunya ward, Gichagi and Mathare slums in Ngong ward and Majengo in Ildamat ward.
The food has been purchased by the county government's emergency fund as well as donations from a consortium of humanitarian agencies convened by the governor three weeks ago.
"We have a food basket where we are putting all the food donations. We have purchased with the little we have. We ask for more food donations because the numbers of needy cases are increasing every day," said governor Lenku.
The governor lamented the situation in the rural areas was dire with communities battling their own hunger and that of their animals.
" It is a battle for survival for both human beings and animals.It calls for very urgent measures as we face a situation where we could lose people due to starvation. The livestock are dying at an alarming rate," said Lenku.
Last month, Lenku convened a meeting of 15 humanitarian organisations and elected leaders to forge a common approach to raise food donations and livestock feed for herders.
Among the organisations that have come in handy are Food and Agriculture Organisation, Unicef, Big Life Foundation and the National Drought Management Authority( NDMA)
Big Life Foundation that operates in Kajiado, has for example, adopted schools where they have launched feeding programmes to keep the pupils in school.
Big Life CEO Benson Leyian said the organisation had already put 29,000 schoolgoing pupils on a fortified porridge programme with a lunch programme for them set to start when schools reopen.
"We are working very closely with our other partners and the County Government to ensure enrollment does not go down due to hunger. We treat the hunger situation as a crisis and we are keen to protect our children not to drop out of school," said Mr Leyian.
A spot check in various primary schools last week in Kajiado Central , East and West indicated many pupils were unable to do their end of term examinations as many had been enlisted by their parents to look for pasture for their dying livestock.