At least 45,516 households in Murang’a County are currently in need of humanitarian assistance.As a result of the prolonged drought experienced in the county, the families are in need of food, water among other basic necessities.
An official with National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Mr. Loroman Lekalkuli has revealed that the county received depressed rainfall in the last short rain season subjecting scores of residents to starvation.
Lekalkuli who is also drought coordinator for Nyeri, Murang’a and Kirinyaga counties said maize and beans production in the county dropped by more than 60 percent.
He noted that the projected maize production in the county stands at 126,780 sacks of maize against more than 400,000 sacks of 90 kilos which is usually produced during a short rain season.
“The rains were not enough to support crops to maturity and this has occasioned hunger in several parts of the county,” he said during a consultative forum on drought held at the county commissioner’s office.
Majority of the affected families, Lekalkuli noted, are drawn from Kambiti, Ithanga, Kakuzi, Gaturi and Mbiri wards.
He added that some parts of the mentioned wards recorded crop failure of up to 90 percent.
The coordinator feared that the situation may be worse before the next rainy season, saying that areas which lay in lower zones of Murang’a were currently facing acute water shortage.
“The government together with other stakeholders is working on how to start distributing humanitarian aid to the affected families. Already 2, 716 households are slated to get food among other supplies from the national drought steering committee before mid-March,” noted Lekalkuli.
He noted the listed families were among those severely affected by drought saying more food supplies would be available before the end of April.
The coordinator further said milk production has decreased saying most households were currently producing up to 1. 5 litres of milk as compared to a normal of 2.5 litres.
“The drop of milk production can be attributed to the poor livestock body condition as a result of diminishing forage,” he further said.
Meanwhile, Lekalkuli observed that the government has allocated Sh4.5 million to rehabilitate two boreholes in Murang’a south sub county.
The boreholes, he stated, will help to mitigate water shortage in the areas where currently residents are forced to walk for long distances to access water.
“The two boreholes are near Kenol town and once rehabilitated, bowsers will be used to fetch water and take to residents who are far from the boreholes,” he said.
Murang’a County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo called for well coordination in distribution of relief food to affected families.
He asked the involved stakeholders to work in collaboration with interior administrators who know and have exact numbers of families faced by starvation.
By Bernard Munyao