The County Government of Kwale has distributed assorted relief food to 3,500 vulnerable households facing starvation as drought continues to ravage parts of the coastal county.
Governor Fatuma Achani says at least 200,000 people spread in Kinango, Shimba Hills, Samburu and Lunga Lunga sub counties are in urgent need of relief food and water supplies.
Achani who chairs the County Drought Response Coordination Committee directed sub-county administrators, ward administrators and all officials involved in the drought response to ensure fair distribution of the relief food.
She said the coastal county is facing one of its worst droughts in decades declaring that the region is in a state of crisis. She spoke during a series of food distribution exercises in several wards spread in Kinango and Lunga Lunga sub counties that are hard hit by the ravaging drought.
Achani called on humanitarian agencies and 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.
Achani who was accompanied by her Deputy Chirema Kombo, senior county officers and Red Cross Kwale branch officials said her administration is determined to ensure that the foods reach the needy cases.
She said the county is working closely with the national government, well-wishers and humanitarian agencies to get relief food that would be distributed to the drought victims.
“The relief food is meant to help cushion effects of the ongoing drought and as a county government we will not entertain diversion of the same,” she said, adding that the county government will scale up drought relief activities to save lives.
She said the region was on the throes of the ravaging drought as a result of depressed rains for three years in a row, adding that her administration in collaboration with the national government will always be there for the people in times of need.
Achani said the humanitarian relief assistance is to contribute to the alleviation of the suffering of the drought-affected victims in the region.
On the issue of water, she said her administration, beside undertaking water trucking as a stop gap measure, is investing in the construction of mega dams to harvest rain water for domestic and irrigation purposes.
“The food distribution and water trucking programme is helping save lives as well as ensuring people do not have to leave their localities in search of help,” she said.
The county boss at the same time said the biting drought had led to the escalation of human-wildlife conflict and called on the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to address the issue.
Human-wildlife conflicts often occur when people and wildlife move into the same area, or compete for the same resources, such as water and pastures.
The county boss said her administration is ready to work with KWS to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts in areas surrounding national parks.
Mbodze Munga and Gonzi Rai elders from Dzoyagenu village in Mackinnon ward Samburu Sub County related how their crops withered and livestock died due to the prolonged drought.
They contend that most of the residents in the village had suffered the same fate and depended on relief food for survival. They observed that the drought has been severe and relentlessly exacerbating cases of human-wildlife conflict in the region.
The elders said wild animals from the Tsavo East and Shimba Hills National Parks come in search of water and food in populated areas.
However, the elders thanked the county government, national government and humanitarian agencies for their efforts in alleviating hunger despite the bad situation.
By Hussein Abdullahi