1500 households in drought-stricken parts of Kinango sub county of Kwale have received food supplies from the county government.
To combat the region’s hunger, the county government of Kwale has scaled up the distribution of relief food to support the drought-stricken population.
The drought victims at Miyani area of Kasemeni ward received 300 bales of maize flour and 150 food packs during a distribution exercise supervised by area Governor Fatuma Achani.
Accompanied by her Deputy Chirema Kombo, Achani says the county government will continue distributing relief food to hunger-stricken families until the drought situation subsides.
Governor 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 dire need of food as a result of the ravaging drought.
The governor says the affected households are in need of humanitarian assistance due to food insecurity but added that so far no one has died because of hunger.
She also said that water pans and other water reservoirs have dried up and crops and livestock have died stripping residents of their livelihoods.
The governor sounded the alarm that as the humanitarian situation worsens the number of families requiring food support will likely increase in the coming weeks.
Achani underscored the need for the devolved unit and the national government, public and private sector players and humanitarian agencies to expand their interventions in the region to save lives.
She says her administration has started water tracking to distribute water to affected families and their livestock and called on other stakeholders to join the efforts and help save lives.
“More food is urgently needed in the worst affected areas to prevent the food crisis deteriorating into a famine,” she said, adding that the county has recorded poor rainfall for three consecutive years.
The county boss has assured the residents that her administration is working closely with the national government and humanitarian agencies to ensure no single person dies of hunger as a result of the biting drought.
Achani further assured the residents affected by drought that the county government of Kwale is looking for lasting solutions to the recurrent drought situations.
“As a devolved unit we are partnering with the national government, humanitarian agencies and well-wishers in tackling the catastrophic perennial drought situation,” she said.
During the distribution exercise the county chief asked the beneficiaries to use the food wisely to feed their families warning them from selling it as they may continue to suffer in hunger.
Tsuma Ndurya, a resident of Miyani village says many households in the area continue to reel under the pain of hunger resulting from the prolonged drought being experienced across the region.
He has appealed to the stakeholders to continue providing relief food to the worst affected areas to avert hunger pangs noting that if urgent intervention is not made, then lives will be lost.
Ndurya says most livestock in the worst affected localities are dropping dead due to scarcity of water and pasture.
Nadzua Mrinzi says the supplies will enable them to cook for their families and help keep children in school and reduce absenteeism.
She says families are surviving by reducing the number of meals they eat a day thus leading to high levels of malnutrition.
Mrinzi added that putting food on the table for most families was a problem adding that the government, humanitarian agencies and well-wishers should hear their cry.
She says due to the prolonged drought people are suffering from thirst, poor water quality, crop failure, hunger and poverty.
Meanwhile, with the biting drought situation currently being experienced in the county and looming national exams on the cards, Kwale based Australian mining firm Base Titanium has undertaken an initiative to support schools in the region with food to cater for candidates’ meals all through the examination period.
The initiative will see 26 schools within the mine site receive bales of maize and wheat flour, sacks of beans, rice and cooking oil that will be used to prepare meals for class six pupils, standard eight and form four candidates.
Mwaidi Ali, a programmes officer with Base says this will enable the learners to concentrate during their exams without worrying about meals.
“The food donation is critical in keeping children in school especially during the exam period,” she said.
The Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) will administer national exams for learners in grade six, standard eight and form four beginning November 28, 2022.
Last month following an appeal by the county government the mining firm donated food stuffs worth Sh. 6 million to the worst affected families.
By Hussein Abdullahi