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Government assures that no Kenyan will die of hunger in drought stricken areas

The  government has assured Kenyans that it has put in place the necessary intervention measures to mitigate the effects of drought in the country to prevent loss of lives and livelihoods of Kenyans.

The  Government Spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna said the government is keenly monitoring the drought situation to ensure that no individual dies from hunger.

“The  government will allocate Sh3.7 billion for drought response between September and December this year, out of this Sh2.9 billion will be used for relief food and to distribute water and other nutrition requirements,” he announced.

Rtd Col. Oguna  said currently a total of 2.6 million people across the 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) Counties are in need of relief food assistance, while 623,000 children and 69,000 pregnant and lactating mothers are at risk of malnutrition in those counties, with Turkana County being the most affected.

He  said  about 250,000 children aged under five years affected in Turkana North, Turkana South and Laisamis Sub-Counties are experiencing acute malnutrition, while 200,000 in Turkana West and Turkana Central, Baringo, Tana River, Samburu, Garissa, Moyale and North Horr Sub Counties are facing critical malnutrition.

“So far 24 Counties in ASAL are affected by drought and require urgent relief food assistance. The eight severely affected are Garissa, Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Tharaka Nithi, Isiolo, Embu and Kitui,” he added.

Other six counties also experiencing drought effects are Kajiado, Kilifi, Makueni, Meru, Nyeri and Tana River.

He  at the same time, disclosed that between April and August 2019, the government disbursed Ksh. 1,697,300 towards the purchase and distribution of various food items in the 23 counties and spent Ksh. 650 million to distribute water, repair boreholes and to procure spare parts for water pumping machines in strategic boreholes.

The  items were 147,224 bags of maize, 92,320 bags of rice, 99,060 bags of beans, 23,715 cartons of vegetable oil and 8,300 bales of therapeutic supplements.

Some  of  the mitigation measures the government has undertaken to mitigate the impact of drought include provision of 10 cargo trucks and eight water bowsers by the Department of Defence to transport livestock feeds and deliver water to affected counties.

On  health and nutrition intervention, the government through the Ministry of Health conducted medical outreaches, provided therapeutic and supplementary feeds for treatment and rehabilitation to 17,871 malnourished children.

“Last  month in August, a total of 644 integrated medical outreaches were conducted in the remote areas of Turkana, Marsabit, West Pokot, Baringo, Samburu, Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Tana River Counties,” said Rtd Col. Oguna, adding that school feeding programmes, water trucking, fees subsidy and bursaries were also provided to affected  schools.

By  Bernadette Khaduli

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