Garissa County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich has warned officials involved in distribution of relief food issued by the government to vulnerable households in the county against diverting the food elsewhere.
Speaking to the press at the Garissa National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) store after witnessing offloading of the second batch of food allocated to Garissa Sub Counties, Cherutich said that the Deputy County Commissioners and chiefs have been instructed to only distribute the food to deserving Kenyans.
The food is part of the consignment that was flagged off by President William Ruto Monday to famine-stricken families.
Speaking during the flagging off at State House Nairobi, Ruto said the relief food would benefit 3.5 million Kenyans affected by the drought that has ravaged 23 counties across the country.
In Garissa, which remains on the alert phase, a total of 336,000 people have been affected by the severe drought translating to 56,000 households.
All the ten sub counties will receive a total of 2,000 bags of rice, 3,600 – 50kg bags of beans and 1,000 cartons of corned beef.
“We have instructed all the sub county steering committees where the Deputy County Commissioners and the Sub County Administrators representing the governor sit, the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) officials, Kenya Red cross and all the elected leaders to sit and ensure that this food is distributed to deserving Kenyans,” Cherutich said.
“The NDMA has already done the mapping and they have the names of those who are vulnerable and therefore all chiefs have been instructed to ensure that the food is not diverted elsewhere. We will be monitoring and any issue of diversion of food will be dealt with firmly,” he added.
The County Commissioner further asked the village elders to be keen on the exercise and report immediately on any kind of relief food diversion to undeserving people who were not captured on the vulnerable persons list.
He thanked the KDF and the World Food Programme (WFP) for supporting the transportation of the consignment to various points and logistical support respectively.
The administrator said that NGOs and Community Based Organizations in the county had been supporting the school feeding programme to ensure that children from the affected areas remain in school.
He noted that the government was working closely with other partners including UNICEF that is the lead agency on the children sector to ensure that those children who have dropped out of school are supported back to school.
Garissa County NDMA Coordinator Abdinoor Dubow said that the county steering committee would continue to meet on a regular basis to analyze the situation and assess the drought with a view to ensuring that the affected households are reached both for food and non-food items.
“This drought is not different from the episodes of the drought that we had previously, only that we are having successive failed rains and seasons for four years which has taken away the communities’ coping mechanism to absorb these shocks,” Dubow said.
He said that the NDMA would procure livestock feeds which were expected in the next two weeks.
The Kenya Livestock Marketing Council Vice Chairman Dubat Amey while commending the government’s effort to address the drought issue called for the upscaling of the cash transfer programme as well as quick release of the livestock feeds.
By Erick Kyalo