A government multi agency team has refuted claims by sections of the media that several lives have been lost in Baringo due to drought.
Issuing a report at Nginyang’ in Tiaty, Baringo County the team comprising of administration officers from the Interior Ministry, the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and the County Disaster Office said the situation in Baringo is at late alarm stage.
“We are yet to reach at emergency state and so the situation is still manageable, the situation is that some water points have become stressed due to extended dry spell, there is no need for panic,” said Mwogo Chimwaga, the Rift Valley Regional Commissioner (RC).
Reading the joint statement at Nginyang’ before distribution of 700 bags of relief food by Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eugene Wamalwa, the RC said the vast county is not at red alert to an extent where people can lose their lives.
“Some areas are at their early stages of famine and this is indicated by drying up of water sources such as dams and rivers leading to low water supply, therefore, people will have problem when it comes to water accessibility,” he said.
Chimwaga said it was regrettable that some people wanted to push a narrative that famine had caused death for reasons known to them.
He blamed the media, saying they were stage managing stories on famine related deaths in the area.
“It’s unfortunate that some people are out to sell the narrative that there are deaths caused by famine we are not going to stop them, we have done our own investigations and there are no deaths so far,” reiterated Chimwaga.
He revealed that the food program in schools is still ongoing and there are about five schools identified as facing water shortage and there is need of drilling boreholes in the schools to address the shortage.
His sentiments were echoed by NDMA’s County Drought Coordinator, Bethwel Wafula, who claimed some photos doing rounds in the social media depicting images of dead people may have been downloaded from the internet with some being from Ethiopia and Somalia.
The reports were vehemently attacked by politicians who said the National Government was out to intimidate them and deter them from revealing the deaths.
The Pokot South Member of Parliament (MP), David Pkosing, warned the government officials against such intimidation, saying the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) and chiefs had a right to report such problems that affects their people.
MCAs from the area said they had been asked to record statements on deaths they had claimed occurred due to hunger.
Ribkwo MCA, Daniel Tuwit, wondered who should do the reporting of the disaster facing their voters if Chiefs and MCAs are intimidated.
By June Rono/Christopher Kiprop