At least 309 vulnerable families living in the slums of Buuri West, Meru County have benefited with relief food from the government aimed to cushion them against ongoing famine in the area.
The relief that was distributed door to door by the local administration consisted of 21 kilograms of rice and six kilograms of beans to last them for two weeks in the five slums of Mukuri, Riverside, Kongoni, Kairiri and Mitumba.
“The people who are affected most in Buuri West are in the slums dwellers because they don’t have land to till and again there has been no rain for four consecutive years. The little we received in November was not sufficient to bring crops to maturity,” said Buuri West Deputy County Kipkoech Labatt.
He said that some old people and those with disabilities lived alone since their relatives had left them due to economic hardship.
“This people live on their own, don’t have relatives, some have disappeared leaving their children under care of their aging parents,” added Labatt.
The DCC pointed out that, in Buuri West alone about 80,000 households are facing starvation.
“We are supposed to give them food to last for a month but because the number of people facing starvation and relief food given to us by the government is not enough, we chose to go for the most vulnerable. However, we shall continue retargeting,” said Labatt.
Labatt further said that the government had given out a food consignment of 200 bags of rice and 300 bags of beans each weighing 50 kilograms, which some were to donated to nine primary and seven secondary schools in the area as they resume to the new academic calendar .
“What government gave was not enough but it’s better than nothing and so what we got we gave half of it to schools for feeding programmes. When we feed the children, we shall have reduced the burden of the parents,” said Labatt.
Beatrice Tiridi, one of the relief food beneficiaries and who is diabetic said that the food was a relief since she depends on well-wishers to feed her.
Rose Karema, Mukuri area manager said the most affected Buuri residents were old people since they don’t have anyone to depend on, however, she was thankful with then government initiatives of donating relief food.
Karema further urged the government to supply them with clean drinking water since most of the taps and rivers had dried up due to drought.
About 13 arid and semi-arid-areas (ASALs) counties of Garissa, Lamu, Narok, Tana River, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, Baringo, Laikipia, Meru, Taita Taveta, West Pokot, Nyeri and Kwale are in drought alert face with the rest of the nine ASAL counties at alarm drought face. There are about 4.5 million people facing starvation countrywide.
By Muturi Mwangi