The Kwale County Government has delivered food packages to 500 drought-stricken families in Mbuluni location, Ndavaya ward of Kinango Sub County.
The 500 drought-hit households benefited from maize flour, beans, rice, sugar, cooking oil, tea leaves and indomie noodles among other assorted food stuffs donated by renowned TV journalists and couple Rashid Abdalla and Lulu Hassan through ‘Rashid Abdalla Foundation’ to help cushion residents affected by the ravaging drought.
The 500 families join other 2000 drought-hit households in Kinango and Lunga Lunga sub counties who have received food supplies from the county government last week.
Abdallah and Lulu are Swahili news anchors at Citizen TV who hail from Kwale and are moved by the number of people in desperate need of food and other assistance.
Area Governor Fatuma Achani who supervised the food distribution exercise thanked the TV couple for responding to the call by her administration over the ongoing deadly drought in the region.
She said her administration in collaboration with the national government, humanitarian agencies and well-wishers will continue to provide food rations to vulnerable populations in areas affected by the current ravaging drought until the situation subsides.
Governor Achani says the coastal county is facing one of its worst droughts in decades declaring that the region is in a state of humanitarian emergency.
She says the drought response also includes a school feeding programme in the worst drought-hit areas providing children with meals thus ‘keeping them in school and keeping them safe’.
Achani who chairs the County Drought Response Coordination Committee says 200,000 people spread in Kinango, Samburu, Shimba Hills, Matuga and Lunga Lunga sub counties are in need of emergency food aid as drought bites.
The county boss has sounded the alarm that as the humanitarian situation worsens, the number of families requiring food aid will likely rise in the coming months.
She says the humanitarian relief assistance is to contribute to the alleviation of the suffering of the drought-affected victims in the region.
“The ongoing drought relief food assistance will target vulnerable households with a view to saving lives and preserving livelihoods,” she said, adding that most parts of the county have received little or no rainfall since 2020.
The ravaging drought has also pushed wildlife from their natural habitats into human settlements searching for water and pasture exacerbating human-wildlife conflict.
She called on well-wishers to chip in with food and non-food items and help families facing food insecurity at this time when the county is on the throes of devastating drought following years of rain failure.
“We need other well-wishers to come on board and make generous donations to help those who need it the most survive the lean season,” she said.
Abdalla said they made the donation in response to the county’s appeal for food aid in the face of the prolonged drought.
The TV personality said as a couple they want to ensure that the locals do not die as a result of the biting hunger and urged humanitarian agencies to pay enough attention to the plight of the drought victims.
At the same time, the governor said the county is already putting up measures to mitigate the effects of the drought through construction of water dams and rehabilitation of boreholes across the region.
Achani said the county is banking on the Mwache multipurpose dam project co-funded by the national government and the World Bank to the tune of Sh20 billion to address acute water shortages.
The Mwache dam project is part of the second phase water security and climate resilience programme which will focus on Mombasa and Kwale counties.
“We are banking on the Mwache dam reservoir as one that will offer a lasting solution to the water shortfall facing residents of Kwale,” she said.
The governor said the construction of the dam will kick off soon and will be an 87.5-meter-tall concrete gravity dyke, impounding 118 million cubic meters of water with a daily supply of 186,000 cubic meters of water.
“The project will take seven years to complete and will have an irrigation component covering about 2,500 hectares,” she said, adding that water shortage is threatening livelihoods.
She said irrigation will help tackle climate change induced droughts and produce sufficient food that improves the health and nutrition of families all year round.
The governor also cited the construction of the Sh1.6 billion dam project in Makamini, Kinango Sub County in which 40,000 households are expected to benefit from piped water when the dam is completed.
Achani says the construction of the Makamini dam project becomes the second big project after the Mwache multipurpose dam project, which is meant to harness the flood flows from Mwache River basin for domestic water supply and irrigation in Kwale and Mombasa counties.
She also said 22, 000 residents in Kinango Sub County will access water in their homes and farms after M-PESA Foundation in partnership with the devolved unit installed a solar powered water pump at Nyalani Dam.
The Sh.15 million project is expected to boost food production by supplying 105 acres of farmland with water for irrigation to ensure food security in the county.
She said part of the project will enhance agricultural enterprises by provision of farm input such as seeds and tools to farmers in the area following the availability of water from the dam.
By Hussein Abdullahi