The number of households in need of food assistance in Tana River County is set to increase due to the long rains failure. The county received less than 25 per cent during the month of June.
According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) national drought early warning bulletin for July, Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Isiolo, Garissa, Kitui, Wajir, Samburu, Marsabit, Mandera and Laikipia counties are in the alert drought phase.
“The worsening trend across most of ASAL counties is as a result of the poor rains received during the March April May (MAM) 2021 long rains season,” read the NDMA bulletin in part.
In their June bulletin, NDMA estimated over 5,000 households to be in urgent need of food assistance based on a rapid food security assessment they conducted.
Milk production in the Tana River is on a worsening trend. The average milk produced per household decreased to 4.2 litres in June. This is attributed to decreasing quality of pasture across all livelihoods and migrations towards Tana Delta.
“This will mostly affect the children in the pastoral communities who majorly depend on milk as a source of food and also income,’’ said Tana River County Nutritionist Omari Makopa.
He advised parents to consider giving their children other sources of protein like beans, green grams, cowpeas among others to compliment the little they have.
Assistant County Commissioner Geoffrey Mwachofi said the government has cash transfers programs to cushion households including the House Safety Net Program (HSNP).
The World Food Programme and Kenya Red Cross Society distributed pulses, cereals and vegetable oil to 5,833 beneficiaries across the three sub counties in Tana River.
By Sadik Hassan