Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani has appealed for assistance for over 200,000 people affected by serious drought in parts of the coastal county.
The deteriorating food situation in the region is as a result of prolonged drought that has destroyed crops and affected livestock.
Governor Achani said parts of Kinango, Samburu and Lunga Lunga sub counties are facing serious food and water shortages.
She said the problem was acute in these counties with over 200,000 people affected adding that emergency response should focus on the provision of basic humanitarian services.
The county boss said her administration is facing its biggest challenge ever noting drying carcasses of cows and goats lying on the parched ground carved up by vultures has become a common sight in the most affected localities.
“The people in the worst hit areas are looking to the county and national government to come to their aid,” she said.
Governor Achani said her administration was doing all it could but added it could not cope with the problem alone and needed urgent help from the national government and humanitarian agencies.
She said the first priority was to deliver water to affected areas and to distribute food to those who had lost their livestock and crops, noting that water pans in the affected localities’ sub-counties are dry.
“Last week the national government sent relief food to counties in Northern Kenya but even here the population has reached the stage where they are no longer able to cope,” she said.
She went on, “We are already seeing cases of malnourished children in the worst-hit areas.”.
Achani appealed to the national government, donors and philanthropists to come to the aid of the people ‘before they start dying as hunger soars’.
The governor said as a long-term measure to address food insecurity, the devolved unit has launched a Nyalani-Mwangoni-Bang’a Water project in Kinango Sub County.
She said the Sh159 million water project is co-funded by the county government and the World Bank.
“Once the project is complete, it would benefit 8,000 residents who will use the water for domestic and agricultural purposes,” she said.
On his part, Kwale County National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) coordinator Roman Shera, says erratic rainfall has devastated crops and livestock herds leaving thousands of people hungry.
He said NDMA is coordinating supplies of relief food to cushion suffering residents and avert humanitarian crisis.
By Hussein Abdullahi