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Governor flags off relief food to two sub-counties

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza has flagged off vehicles that will be distributing relief food in Buuri East and West sub-counties as part of an intervention for the starving families following the ongoing drought.

A total of 640 bags of beans and 400 bags of rice were distributed in the two sub-counties with Buuri East receiving 200 bags of rice and 360 bags of beans while Buuri West got 200 bags of rice and 280 bags of beans.

Speaking during the exercise, Ms. Mwangaza said that they were working closely with the County Commissioner Fred Ndunga to ensure the residents received the right service from them.

“There are no people who belong to the County government while others belong to the national government. We are serving the people of Meru County as a whole and therefore we need to create some synergy that will help us realise good results in whatever we do,” she said.

She assured the residents that the two offices were working hard to ensure that relief food gets to the needy people

“In the past, we have heard stories of people especially government officers being in possession of relief food or selling it to businesspeople but this will not happen this time as we will be very vigilant on what was going on during the distribution process,” said Ms. Mwangaza.

She noted that the relief food might not sustain the residents till their next harvest season but will at least give them some energy to look for alternative ways of getting income that will help them buy their own.

“We should therefore not sit down at our homes and wait for the government’s relief food but go out there and look for casual jobs and other activities that will earn you income,” she said.

She said she was working hard to get donors and partners to sponsor water projects, especially in the semi-arid areas which will enhance irrigation.

“We are not comfortable in receiving relief food every time drought sets in. We will ensure we have enough water to enhance irrigation in the semi-arid areas considering that they are very productive,” said Ms. Mwangaza.

According to Mr. Ndunga, at least 600,000 people in the County are in dire need of relief food, a number that is expected to rise if the ongoing drought persists.

The number has increased from about 400,000 people who were in need of the same in the last two months.

Mr. Ndunga added that at least 39 schools were also adversely affected by the ongoing drought.

“The number of schools affected by the drought is more than 39 but we will soon be receiving the exact number from the director of education who is on the ground working on the same,” said Mr Ndunga.

He added that with the ongoing situation, the government will be forced to introduce school-feeding programmes to the affected schools to ensure learners remain in their classrooms to be at par with their peers in other parts of the country.

“The aim of the government is to ensure every child is in school and if we continue this way, we will be forced to introduce the school-feeding programme to have learners in school,” said Mr Ndunga.

He noted that some of the learners especially in lower classes were severely malnourished and would require special food to recover.

Mr. Ndunga added that the committee where MPs were also invited will ensure that every organisation dealing with relief food does so through them to enhance transparency and accountability in the distribution process.

“Through proper coordination, the committee will ensure that every affected person in this county was catered for in terms of food, water trucking and livestock feeds to ensure the right people benefitted,” said Mr. Ndunga.

He said the relief food from the national government or other partners will be going directly to the sub-county committees which will distribute it in order of priority.

By Dickson Mwiti

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