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Approximately 63,000 people face starvation in Tana River

The number of people in need of food assistance in Tana River County has increased after the situation was exacerbated by the failure of long rains.

National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Tana River Coordinator Abdi Musa has said that based on the assessment of the long rains more than 63,000 people face hunger.

Tana North sub-county leads with 22,116, followed by 22,112 and 18,957 in Tana Delta and Tana River sub-counties respectively.

According to the NDMA drought early warning bulletin for July most crops that relied on rainfall failed as a result of moisture distress.

Musa said they will start water trucking to schools and dispensaries. The households trekking distance to water sources has increased to 5.6 kilometres.

Musa said the Covid 19 restrictions that were put in place since the outbreak of the pandemic have also impacted negatively on all livelihood zones including access to food sources.

He relates the increase in malnutrition risk to 13.8 per cent for children less than five years due to the fall in milk production per household which has decreased to 3.6 litres in July.

Coordination of efforts to assist affected families is done through the County Steering Group (CSG), which is chaired by the county commissioner and brings together different stakeholders on board.

Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) Tana River Project Manager Abdulkadir Madhowe speaking on the phone said that registration and validation of beneficiaries is ongoing in Tana River. The programme targets 7,377 vulnerable and poor households who will receive Sh5400 bi-monthly.

World Food Programme and Kenya Red Cross Society have distributed pulses, cereals and vegetable oil to 5,833 beneficiaries in the county while 10,000 households have been receiving Sh1000 weekly to cushion them from the vagaries of Covid 19 from the government and Aid Lands Development Focus (ALDEF)

Nature Kenya is doing land reclamation for fodder production and also the distribution of pasture seeds in the Tana Delta sub-county in conjunction with CISP.

By Sadik Hassan

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