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Drought hits Tana River, 92,000 people face starvation

About 92,000 people are facing severe food shortage in Tana River County following inadequate rainfall that has hit the area for the past four rain seasons/four years.

Speaking during the urgent County Steering Group meeting held at Hola National Drought Management Authority boardroom yesterday, the County Drought Coordinator Mr. Abdi Musa said Tana River County is now at alarming status.

He therefore called for interventions to arrest the situation before reaching emergency status, which is the level of death from starvation.

Musa said, the County is experiencing water scarcity in many areas following the drying up of all water pans and dams contributing to severe shortage of pasture affecting the livestock keepers.

On interventions, the coordinator said his office has received about Sh11million from European Union that will be used on intervention measures explaining, Sh3.7million will be spent on water trucking to the affected schools and villages that are facing water shortage while the balance will go to buying animal feeds to support livestock farmers facing pasture shortage as well as vaccination of some of the animals.

On schools, Tana River County Director of Education, Mr. Issack Khalif, said about ten schools are facing water shortage and they could be forced to close down if water does not reach them in one week.

Hard hit primary schools include, Assa, Osingo, Bisadi, Chifiri, Sabukia, Hakoka,Wayu boru and Wayu Duka, Odhoganda among others.

The director of Education also said retention of children in school is now at a low of 50 per cent and appealed to the national government and non-governmental organizations to support the schools to avoid closure.

Chairing the meeting, Tana River County Commissioner Mr. Thomas Sankei echoed the education boss in the appeal for interventions in order to ensure nobody dies from starvation in the County.

On schools, Sankei said urgent measures are needed to ensure that the affected are not closed down, noting it will negatively affect candidates in the schools as exams are barely two months away.

By Simon Guruba

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