The government has stepped up efforts to provide humanitarian aid to famine stricken families in Marsabit County.
The enhanced intervention measures that was started by President Dr William Ruto recently involves provision of food rations and livestock feeds in a bid to mitigate against famine brought about by prolonged drought.
Officiating at the flagging off of 170 tonnes of drought pellets for distribution in Saku and Moyale constituencies, Marsabit County commissioner (CC) Paul Rotich said every effort was being made by the government and partners to assist those affected by drought in the region.
Mr Rotich said that the distribution would be done up to the ward level to ensure that the beneficiaries received the aid on time and without any hitches.
162,000 kilograms of beans, 90,000 kilograms of rice and 900 cartons of corned beef is currently being distributed to affected families.
The County commissioner added that the distribution of relief food to those experiencing food stress has also begun with all the 9 sub-counties which have experienced rain failure for the last two years being targeted.
Mr Rotich, while cautioning against any attempts by those involved to divert the rations for personal gain, noted that 252,000 residents were food insecure and in dire need of assistance.
The relief supplies which are being distributed through the National Drought Management Authority are being overseen by a multi-sectoral team that includes the local elected leaders.
“Apart from the action by the government there were many other stakeholders’ especially non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the Kenya Red Cross who are actively involved in the fight against this disaster,” he said.
The county commissioner called for tolerance among herders whom he asked to share available grazing resources amicably.
Speaking at the function held at the county headquarters, County secretary Ibrahim Adan said the devolved unit has allocated Sh 300 million towards the initiative and was awaiting approval by the local county assembly.
Mr Adan said the county government was considering adjusting its budget estimates by suspending some activities in order to secure funds to fight the famine and vagaries of weather made worse by climate change.
He described the drought and famine situation in the county as horrible and appealed to well-wishers and donors to come to the aid of the suffering.
The severe drought has so far claimed 253,000 livestock in the county owing to pasture deficit and water scarcity.
County drought coordinator (CDC) Mustapha Parkorwa said local farmers have lost 200, 000 goats and sheep, 33,000 heads of cattle and 20,000 camels to the drought.
Mr Parkorwa cautioned that the drought situation was worsening by the day with the IGAD climate prediction and application centre indicating drier than average conditions in the October-December forecast.
The CDC added that malnutrition levels among children was very bad with about 5,000 suffering severe malnutrition.
He said that a mass screening carried out by the department of health in the four constituencies of Laisamis, North Horr, Saku and Moyale indicate 29 per cent, 27 per cent, 11 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively of moderate and severe malnutrition.
The government has supported the maintenance and running of 20 boreholes across the county where 3,595 litres of fuel subsidy to communities has been supplied.
“The targeted quantity of fuel to be supplied was 4,250 litres but we had to reduce it to the said amount due to the change in fuel pump price from the planned Sh 150 to Sh 172.85 per liter of diesel,” he pointed out.
By Sebastian Miriti