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Ganze residents facing Starvation

Ganze Member of Parliament Teddy Mwambire has asked the government and other well-wishers to quickly move into the constituency and avert deaths due to starvation following severe drought conditions.

A resident of Mrima wa Ndege explains how locals have been forced to prepare aloe vera syrup to sell to a Somali businessman in order to get money to survive the biting drought in the area. Aloe vera is used as an alternative medicine for various ailments. Photo by Emmanuel Masha

Mwambire said that at least one elderly person had starved to death in his constituency, a sentiment that authorities have not verified.

Speaking after presiding over a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Mrima wa Ndege Chief’s Office, Mr  Mwambire said more than 200,000 constituents were staring at death following a total crop failure due to lack of rains.

The MP said the elderly man from Goshi area died three days after the man had been rushed to hospital using the MP’s vehicle.

“I received a distress call from Goshi last week to rescue an ailing man and I immediately dispatched my vehicle to ferry him to hospital, but the man died three days later,” he said adding, “Upon examination, the doctors said he had died of hunger.”

The MP said Ganze recorded a total crop failure due to lack of rains, noting that some areas had not received rain for more than three years.

“People are dying of starvation but the matter is being treated with utmost privacy,” the legislator said.

He said many farmers prepared their farms in time and even planted maize seeds but the crops did not germinate due to lack of moisture.

Mwambire said the severe drought had also led to increased human-wildlife conflicts in the constituency with wild animals travelling from the Tsavo East National Park in search of water and pasture.

“It is now common to see elephants marauding in Matano Mane and Bale areas, which are miles away from the national park,” he said.

However, Kilifi County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka, who is the chairman of the County Food Security Steering Group (CSG), has however denied knowledge of anybody starving to death in Ganze constituency.

“That information has not come to my attention,” Mr Olaka said over the Telephone Monday.

A spot check in some parts of Ganze showed that the area is completely dry and there is nothing in the farms for farmers to survive on.

Locals told reporters that most of them were surviving on one meal while others said they go without food for days.

Hariri Kenga said locals were forced to depend on charcoal burning, a practice that has been banned in the area, as well as cutting aloe vera leaves to make aloe vera syrup for sale.

She said a severe water shortage had hit most parts of the constituency with some trekking for more than five hours in search of the commodity.

Livestock farmers have also been affected as pasture conditions recorded a decline in quality and quantity compared to the previous month mostly in the first and second days of May.

In February this year, the National Drought Management Authority (NEMA) warned of a drought situation in Baringo, Isiolo, Kilifi, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir and Turkana.

By Emmanuel Masha

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