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Food committees unveiled as relief operation gathers pace

The National Government in conjunction with the Kwale County Government has instituted village-based relief food committees to supervise food distribution exercises in the region.

The teams are being unveiled at a time more drought relief food to needy households is expected in the region to ease drought-induced shortages.

Kwale County Commissioner (CC) Gideon Oyagi said the committees under the leadership of Deputy County Commissioners (DCCs) comprise Assistant County Commissioners (ACCs), Chiefs, and Assistant Chiefs representing the National Government while Sub County and Ward Administrators represent the devolved unit.

Oyagi said the committees will work closely with local leaders, elders, and other entities such as humanitarian agencies involved in the food distribution exercise for faster, more efficient, and effective relief food distribution to vulnerable people.

He said the all-inclusive committees are meant to ensure that the ongoing distribution of relief food does not result in fraud.

The CC said 200,000 people spread in Kinango, Samburu, Shimba Hills Matuga and Lunga Lunga sub-counties are in dire need of humanitarian assistance as the current prolonged drought worsens.

Oyagi who was accompanied by area Governor Fatuma Achani spoke at the Kwale Cultural Centre during the unveiling ceremony of the food aid committees.

He said the meeting intends to strengthen the working relationship between the national government officers and county government employees since they all work towards the same goal of serving the people.

The administrator said this week the region has received from the national government 3,200 50 kg bags of rice, 1280 50 kg bags of beans, and 800 cartons of canned beef and that more food packages are expected in the coming weeks.

Oyagi said initial food distribution started last week when over 1,000 bags of maize, beans, and rice were distributed to the worst affected households and schools, adding that the arrival of the food aid will relieve the people who have been suffering from pangs of hunger.

“No one will die of hunger due to crop failure and death of livestock caused by drought as the government will ensure that food is available in all the drought-ravaged regions of our country,” said Oyagi.

Oyagi urged the committees to ensure that no drought relief food is stolen, sold, or lost during the distribution process. “As committee members, you are responsible that no theft of relief food happens under your watch and if that happens then we shall take stern action against those responsible,” he warned.

He said school feeding programmes would be revived to provide learners in primary and secondary schools with meals aimed at keeping them in school and keeping them safe.

Oyagi said usually drought affects school attendance for learners in the affected areas as families are forced to move in search of water and livelihoods.

On her part, Governor Achani pointed out local and international humanitarian agencies need to scale up their responses to prevent the current biting drought from deteriorating into a famine that would lead to loss of lives.

She called for enhanced support in the areas of food security and livelihoods, health and nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene.

The county boss said the magnitude of the ongoing drought and its impact on the affected households necessitates the need for the national and devolved governments, private sector players, and humanitarian agencies to expand their drought interventions to save lives.

Achani said her administration is committed to mitigating the drought crisis noting that at the moment they are also undertaking water tracking to affected villages using water bowsers while at the same time sinking boreholes to ensure water supply.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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