Kwale rights lobbies raise money for families affected by drought

Ganze residents trek long distances in search of water, now scarce following prolonged drought in the region. The Kwale County government has set aside Sh90 million to fight the effects of the drought. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Human rights organisations in Kwale County have started a campaign to help raise money for residents of Lungalunga and Kinango sub-counties affected by drought and famine.

Speaking to the Nation, the Coordinator of the Civil Societies Organizations Mackenzie Mohammed said the campaign, “Kenyans for Kwale”, aims to raise money to distribute water and food to the needy.

“This is a citizen-led initiative that we began in early October after seeing the situation that residents are currently in yet government officials have not taken any actions to save the people,” he said.

Some farmers have lost their livestock to hunger caused by the drought.

Mr Mohammed said companies and individuals can donate through paybill number 891300.

“The money will allow us to get tankers to deliver water to the most affected and remote parts, such as Silaloni. We believe that after the first initiative, more corporates or individuals will now come out and be willing to assist us,” he said.

The lobby also hopes to get at least 30 tonnes of maize flour and 100 water tankers to supply areas whose water pans have dried up. They also appealed to volunteers to donate other essentials, such as children’s clothes.

The initiative comes as Kenya Red Cross data shows that at least 100,000 residents of Kinango and Lungalunga have been affected by drought while 10,000 of them are in dire need of water.

Some 90 per cent of water pans have dried up while the remaining are shared by wildlife, humans and domestic animals, putting their health at risk.

The campaign involves community radio stations and volunteers.

“It's high time we come together and support the people affected by famine,” Mr Mohammed said.

Red Cross Kwale County coordinator Mohammed Mwaenzi said insecurity had increased in parts of the county as herders clash over the little available water.

The drought has also intensified human-wildlife conflict. In August, two children were killed by a hyena in Silaloni, one of the areas most affected.

The Kenya Wildlife Service said wild animals like elephants and buffaloes move from Tsavo National Park, now dry, to residential areas in search of water and pasture.

Kwale County Commissioner Gideon Oyagi said officials were planning how relief food and water would be distributed.

“The situation in the villages is alarming. However, we are working in partnership with the county government to ensure that they are supplied with water and food,” he said, adding that Kwale had not been listed as the most drought-affected area by the government.

In the Coast region, the drought has hit Lamu, Tana River and Kilifi counties.