At least 189,734 people in Makueni County are faced with starvation due to prolonged drought that caused crop failure in the last three harvesting seasons, the National Management Droughty Authority (NMDA), Droughty Information Officer (DIO) Mr. Fred Wakaba has said.
The worst hit Sub county include Kibwezi East with (44,325) people, Nzaui (28,508), Makueni (22,816), Mbooni East (22,995) and Makindu with (19,113) people.
Other Sub Counties that are in need of food relief include Mbooni West (17,954), Kathozweni (13,962), Mukaa (13,444) and Kilungu with (7,619) people are in dire need of food relief.
“The information derived from a 2022 March, April and May food security assessment done by key stakeholders in the county,” said Wakaba, while speaking to KNA in his Wote office on Monday.
Following the assessment, he disclosed that the people in especially Marginalized Mixed Farming (MMF) zone were going for 4-6 kilometers to fetch water noting that in the Mixed Farming (MF) zone, they were trekking for 0.5-2 kilometers in search of water.
The DIO further said that in Kibwezi, the worst hit wards were Masongaleni, Mtito Andei, Kikumbulyo North and Kikumbulyo South whereas in Kathozweni it is Kitise/Kithuki.
On interventions, the technical committee that undertook the assessment, suggested that there should be an urgent move to rehabilitate bore holes that have stalled and also ferry water to worst hit areas in Kibwezi and Makindu to mention a few.
“There is a need to provide fuel, ferry water to worst hit wards besides ferrying the scarcity commodity to schools to ensure students are retained in schools,” he said.
At the same time, the drought information officer observed that it was imperative for the government at both levels to provide sanitary towels to girls in schools in the affected areas.
On livestock, he revealed that the body condition was fair and the government need to provide feed supplements to farmers so that they can give to their animals to avert a crisis in the area.
He said that the Red Cross will spend sh 25 million in conducting an off-take of livestock in the areas affected by drought; they intend to buy 1,675 animals which they will slaughter and give to the people to eat.
Already the exercise of buying the animals is ongoing and slaughtering will be conducted from next week.
When contacted for comment, Makueni County Commissioner (CC) Mr. Gilbert Kitiyo noted that the people are in dire need of food relief, however he said that the government has promised some intervention.
“Nobody will die of hunger, the government has promised to intervene and we are waiting for that communication,” said Kitiyo while speaking to KNA in his Wote office on Monday.
By Patrick Nyakundi