Kabarnet January Saturday 13, 18 KNA
Residents of Kerio Valley region in Baringo County are staring at a looming famine following prolonged drought that has occasioned an acute shortage of food and water in the area.
A spot-check by KNA at Salawa, Barwesa and parts of Bartabwa divisions’ livestock farmers were moving with their animals towards Kerio River basin where patches of green pasture and water could still be found.
“I am forced to drive my cows over 15 kilometers down here at Kerio river basin which has plenty of water and pasture so that I save my animals from dying,” said Mzee Job Chebet who declined to speak before a camera.
Mzee Chebet, 70, said life was becoming more difficult to older persons especially during this month of January whereby school children who normally assist them to water the livestock hardly get time to help.
“It is our prayer that incidents of insecurity which are also common in our area subside during this difficult season when we are forced to migrate with our livestock to look for water and pasture,” said Chebet.
A spot check at some of the villages in Kuikui, Kambi Nyasi and Maregut Sub-Locations established that the only animals available at the homesteads were goats and few sheep as all the cows have been moved to Kerio river basin by men.
According to Kaboskei Kerio Chief Richard Kaplegit the region was currently facing severe drought though no cases of livestock deaths have been reported.
Mr Kaplegit said though farmers planted crops last year they did not harvest anything from the farms due to lack of adequate rains coupled with invasion by fly army worms necessitating the total crop failure.
However he assured local residents that the government was doing everything possible to supply them with relief food adding that though the food ration will be very little it will greatly assist those households in dire need.
The chief has urged parents to ensure that their children go to school as the government will distribute food through the home grown school feeding programme.
Mr Kaplegit said it was imperative that parents ensure their children were in school full time saying there was no excuse for a child to miss school due to lack of food.