The County Government of Nakuru has unveiled a new voucher system that will enable over 100,000 residents affected by adverse economic effects of Covid-19 benefit from medical and relief food supplies.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said his Administration which is rolling out the programme in collaboration with Kenya Red Cross, will conduct in-depth vetting and thorough background checks before issuing the vouchers to orphans and vulnerable children, the physically challenged, elderly and heads of households who had lost their employments and incomes due to effects of the pandemic.
The Governor said the initiative that has also brought on board the National Government has put in place stringent procedures before one acquires the voucher to ensure that a greedy and selfish individuals did not take advantage of the exercise to enrich themselves and that only deserving cases get donations that will be distributed from Kenya Red Cross Offices in Nakuru.
Speaking when he received foodstuffs and sanitary products from various industrialists in Nakuru, Kinyanjui announced that part of money raised will go to medical facilities operating in low income areas and that the poor people would be given the first priority in health care provision, while pledging to regularly make public, all the donations and how they are spent.
The Governor observed that more than 70,000 jobs had been lost in Naivasha Sub-county following closure of horticultural firms after exports of flowers, fruits and vegetables were halted and international flights suspended in the wake of the pandemic.
He expressed concern that a further 50,000 people in Njoro, Subukia and Rongai Sub-counties who directly depended on export of cut flowers and agricultural produce had lost their source of incomes.
Kinyanjui revealed that over 4,000 employees, working in the Tourism and Hospitality Sector in Nakuru had been rendered jobless, following closure of hotels and restricted travel regulations by key countries where visitors to tourist attraction sites originated from.
He called on development partners and multinational institutions, corporates, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and individuals, to support the government’s efforts in the supply of medical facilities and equipment and support for vulnerable communities with their immediate needs due to hard economic times caused by spread of Covid 19.
“Covid-19 threatens lives and livelihoods, and a rapid response is needed for food security, nutrition, and schooling,” the Governor said.
Kinyanjui affirmed that his Administration and the County Security Committee had banned direct donation of food, medical supplies and social amenities to beneficiaries as the practice had been observed to flout the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry on social distancing by crowding.
He warned that well-wishers flouting the directive risked being arrested and arraignment before court of law for defying directives that the National Government has put in place to contain spread of the virus.
Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Interior banned the uncoordinated direct distribution of food and non-food donations across the country.
This was after disturbing scenes were witnessed outside Kibra’s Deputy County Commissioner’s offices where hundreds of residents crammed one another to receive foodstuffs, disregarding social distancing guidelines.
“A coordinated approach to the delivery of donations is essential to avoid compromising public health and rolling back gains already made in the efforts to contain Covid-19,” Kinyanjui noted.
He said it was impossible to enforce the Ministry of Health’s regulations and the curfew, intended to curb spread of the virus, if a section of the public did not have access to proper food and nutrition.
By Anne Mwale