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Drought in West Pokot Worsen

Most parts of West Pokot County have been hit by an acute shortage of food and water occasioned by the prolonged dry season.
Speaking on Saturday, the area Governor John Lonyangapuo said the situation was worsening and needed urgent intervention to save people from dying of hunger.

Lonyangapuo mentioned some of the most affected areas as all of Pokot North, Pokot Central Sub-counties and part of West Pokot Sub-county, saying the areas need urgent supply of relief food.

He said the county government had started distributing food at Shalpoh, Chepkobhe and Endough ward, adding that recently, his government started supplying water to some areas in the county. He pointed out that more than 200, 000 of people were in dire need of food.
He mentioned ten Wards as the worst affected in the area out of 20 wards, saying two people have been reported to have died due to hunger in Masol ward, Pokot Central Sub County.
Kacheliba MP Mark Lomunokol said food stocks in stores are over and more than 90 per cent of livestock from his constituency have migrated to Uganda in search of pastures and water due to drought that has hit the region.
Lomunokol also said the situation is severe adding that over 60% of the entire population has run out of food stock and most people are surviving on one meal per day.

“Dams, water pans and rivers have dried up and the few available are depleting fast and residents are forced to walk a long distance in search of water and food. People have resorted to eating wild fruits” he said.

“Currently animals from my constituency are grazing at Amudat, Nakapiripirit, Kwen, Moroto and Nabilatuk districts in Uganda,” added the MP.

He also expressed fears that cases of malnutrition may be on rise in the region if urgent measures are not taken to ensure children below five years get food supplements.
Speaking to KNA in his office in Kapenguria, the county National Drought Management Authority coordinator Gabriel Mbogho said the hunger situation in the area has reached an alert stage approaching alarm.
Mbogho further said that the authority is looking for resources to start water projects and supplementary feeding to safe livestock which have not migrated.

The governor pointed out that the situation might affect enrolment in schools in the County, following the devastating hunger.
Locals have called on the national government to distribute emergency relief food to assist hunger victims in the area, as hunger continued to hit the semi-arid region, saying they could not afford even a single meal in a day.
Ombolion Chief Joseph Korikimul in Pokot North Sub county said the area has not received rains in the past five months and fear they might lose more cattle if the situation continues.

“We are worried we might lose all our cattle due to drought because there is no pasture or water in this area. We are calling on the government to urgently supply food to retain learners in schools because mothers and children have been left behind as men move with livestock to Uganda,” he said.
He termed the current famine being experienced in the area as being beyond control and never witnessed since 1965, adding that those who were lucky to survive on one meal a day were very few.
‘Goats used to be resistant to drought but now they are dying and some farmers have started auctioning their stock to middle men at throw away prices,” he said.

“It’s hard to sell cows and the prices have fallen. Currently cattle are going at between Sh4, 000 and 8,000. Wildlife has also not been spared,” said Chief Korkimul.

He asked the government to urgently supply the residents with relief food to help prevent anybody from losing lives.

A resident from Masol in Pokot Central Sub-County, Simon Loile observed that widows, orphans and disabled were the most affected.

“The disabled are suffering because they are unable to move. The County government should buy enough food and supply them to affected areas and schools,” he said.
By John Saina

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