A total of 63,664 residents in Mwala Sub County are in urgent need of food aid, owing to the biting drought ravaging different parts of the country.
The worst hit areas include Muthetheni, Mbiuni, Kathama,Kyawango, Ikalaasa, Kibauni, Yathui,Vulya and Wamunyu.
The revelations were made during the sub county steering group committee chaired by the Deputy County Commissioner David Tegutwa in his boardroom.
The drought has been occasioned by poor rainfall in successive seasons leading to decreased yields and crop failure in some regions.
According to the Sub County Agricultural Officer Bernard Yumbya the area received an average rainfall of 214mm in the March -July rains leading to below optimum crop production.
“The rains received were erratic and poorly distributed leading to decreased yields.
Yumbya said the much-anticipated October -December short rains are likely to be depressed and asked residents to plant drought resistant crops like sweet potatoes, cassava, millet and sorghum.
The DCC said the drought situation in the sub-county is worsening and there is need to put in place mitigation measures to tackle the situation.
The drought has also led to acute water shortage with residents walking up to six kilometres in search of water.
“There is need for water trucking because most of the water pans have dried up due to the prolonged drought,” said Tegutwa.
The situation has been worsened by escalating food prices with a kilogramme of maize and beans going for Sh70 and Sh150 respectively.
Mwala Medical Officer of Health Dr. Danston Muya told the committee that 271 cases of malnutrition have been reported across health facilities in the sub county explaining that of the total cases reported 140 were severe while 131 were moderate.
“819 children are also underweighted, an increase from last year’s 724 cases reported,” said Dr. Muya.
The medical officer of health however noted that none of the children with malnutrition has been admitted in the hospital but called for provision of therapeutic feeds and introduction of school feeding programme to stem malnutrition.
Only 22 out of the 187 public schools in the sub county have a school feeding programme.
The programme only covers schools in Wamunyu courtesy of the Hindu Religious Council.
Livestock have not been spared and their prices have plummeted due to poor body condition.
Similarly, the sub county has recorded an increase in petty crimes, domestic violence and suicide.
By Roselyne Kavoo