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Gov’t has spent Sh1.2 billion to cushion Kenyans from hunger, Oguna

The government has spent Sh1.2 billion to cushion people faced with starvation in 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties of the country.

Government Spokesperson Col (Rtd.) Cyrus Oguna has said the fund was disbursed through the cash transfer programme, to the neediest and vulnerable people between December 2021 and February 2022.

“During the same period, the government disbursed Sh680 million, while a similar amount was released between January and February 2022,” said Oguna when he paid a courtesy call on the Makueni County Commissioner (CC) Gilbert Kitiyo in his Wote office.

While reiterating that nobody will die of hunger in the affected counties, the government spokesperson further said that the government was prepared to provide relief food to all Kenyans faced with starvation until the rains sets in.

“The government promise is that no Kenyan will die of hunger. We will continue giving relief food until the onset of rains to enable people start their farming activities,” said Oguna.

Government Spokesperson Col.(Rtd) Cyrus Oguna (left) distributes food to one of the hunger stricken women at the Nzaui Deputy County Commissioner’s Office in Makueni on Wednesday March 23, 2022. Photo by Bonface Malinda.

He noted that 2.8 million people are faced with starvation in Tana River, Makueni, Kitui, Garissa, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana, Laikipia, West Pokot, Kajiado, Embu, Isiolo and Wajir counties.

Other affected counties include Mandera, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Kwale, Machakos, Baringo, Narok and Nyeri.

Speaking at Matiliku in Nzaui Sub County during the distribution of relief food, Oguna disclosed that the county had received 2,100 bags of rice (50kg), 3,120 bags of beans and 90 cartons of canned beef meat to be distributed to the local needy persons.

In Nzaui, 2,893 people are targeted to benefit from 200 bags of rice, 360 bags of beans and 10 cartons of canned beef meat.

During the distribution exercise, the government spokesperson allayed fears among residents that the food being distributed was little saying this was only the commencement of the first phase as second phase begins next week.

“If anyone of you runs out of food, you should inform the local deputy county commissioner for immediate action to be taken,” he observed.

On water scarcity, Oguna said the government intends to sink boreholes across the country to make sure 80% of people have access to water by the end of the year.

He however challenged residents to harvest rain water in their homes in a bid to alleviate the biting scarcity of the commodity facing many families in the area.

“At the moment, the government has sunk numerous boreholes across the country. We are at 70% and we want to move to 80% by the end of the year,” he said.

On his part, County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo, said that the relief food is meant for the most vulnerable including the elderly and poor people living with severe disability in the community.

Consequently, Kitiyo disclosed that they had already vetted the residents with a view to identifying the deserving beneficiaries who will receive relief food across the county, where about 197, 532 of them are currently facing starvation.

“It would amount to a curse for the rich and those well off to receive relief food at the expense of the very vulnerable in the society. Let’s leave government aid to the extremely needy cases,” said Kitiyo.

By Patrick Nyakundi

 

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