The National and Murang’a county governments have started plans to distribute food to hunger stricken families in the county.
During a stakeholders meeting on Tuesday chaired by Murang’a Deputy Governor Stephen Mburu on behalf of the Governor, the representatives from the two administrations identified more than 200, 000 people in the county who were facing starvation occasioned by prolonged drought.
“According to the county drought indicators, an estimated 200,000 people in the county are in need of food assistance” said Mburu adding that this accounts to about 20 per cent of the county population which stands at 1.05 million people.
The worsening drought situation in the county is attributed to depressed rains last year and also during March-May long rains this year.
Areas that are worse hit by the drought include the lower parts of Gatanga sub county including Ithanga/ kakuzi and other parts of Maragua kambiti, Maragua ridge, Kiharu and Kandara.
On behalf of the national government, Murang’a East Deputy County Commissioner Thomas Nyoro said that the county drought risk management coordination committee has come up with a drought response action plan to cushion livestock and crop assets and vulnerable households against the adverse effects of the drought.
“The committee will assess ongoing drought response intervention measures to mitigate drought including resources the national and county government are bringing to board,” said Nyoro adding that the one year plan encompasses a short term October 2022 to January 2023 and eight month plan between February and September 2023.
The drought response plan, said Nyoro, will curb the compounded threat to food and nutrition security in the county.
The DCC said that the coordination meetings and stakeholder mobilization activities would ensure that water and relief food distribution is done immediately the county receives the relief food and financial support from the national government.
Nyoro noted that lack of access to clean water particularly in the lower parts of Makuyu, Gatanga and Ithanga where the people were in need of this essential commodity was becoming a health and nutrition risk to locals.
“The county will provide water trucking services to these areas and support the operation of drilling boreholes,” he said.
The DCC observed that Ithanga/Kakuzi is greatly hit by the drought because it is a semi-arid area and hence school going children in this area need to be assisted with school feeding programmes to enable them stay in school.
He further said that crop performance was adversely affected by the poorly distributed, low and erratic rainfall.
The DCC said the farmers would be given drought tolerant seeds for maize and beans and also get land preparation support and other inputs from agricultural officers.
Nyoro further observed that the livestock situation is also wanting as animals were badly affected with the animal body conditions being very poor.
“Fodder is not available particularly in Kiharu, Gatanga, Muranga south and Mathioya, that is Gitugi area,” he added.
Muranga County Coordinator for Kenya Red Cross Society Immaculate Iteba, said there was a need for joint efforts by all stakeholder to cushion the residents from the severe effects of drought.
“The Kenya Red Cross Society is working with the county government in terms of coordination and distribution of the relief food to the affected areas and vulnerable families,” said Iteba.
She observed that the county needed urgent food intervention and other interventions in terms of health, water and sanitation to manage the situation so that the county does not get into the alarming stage of the drought.
“We have identified the gaps that require immediate attention and formed technical teams headed by sector heads to look into those issues and come up with a budget to be forwarded for action,” she said.
By Anita Omwenga