Hillary Mageka and Bernard Gitau @PeopleDailyKe
More than 9.8 million people could be in need of food aid in the coming weeks and the situation may get even worse if the long rains fail, top State officials have said.
The revelation comes after a drought status and response report by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) last month listed Turkana county among the worst-hit regions with reports indicating that two people have so far died from hunger and starvation Kang’irisai location senior chief John Liwani said a woman fainted and died while burning charcoal.
“The incident happened on March 5 when I was informed the body of a woman was found in the bush. After interrogating close relatives, they said she might have died of hunger and thirst as she was of sound mind,” he said.
Liwani urged the ational and county governments to intervene saying that his area is hard hit by drought.
Turkana Central MP John Nakara accused the National government of failing to release funds to cushion drought stricken counties.
“There is contingency fund to facilitate timely response to Arid and Semi Arid areas among other emergency funds by the Treasury to counties but nothing has happened,” he said.
But Devolution Cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa discounted the report and insisted that there is no death over drought.
“In the last drought that prolonged for two years, a number of animals died but not a single person. This time round, we are acting quick to salvage the situation and we are moving fast to supply relief food and water,” he said.
He revealed that almost one million people are facing starvation in 12 countries especially in North Eastern region.
“Turkana county is the most hit where 192,000 people are at risk due to drought and famine,” added Wamalwa. He said 865,000 people are in dire need of relief food, water and other humanitarian aid to avert casualties.
The CS said then ministry is working with other government agencies to supply food in Turkana starting with Kibich, Loima, Turkana East, West and South.
“They will proceed to Kilifi, Baringo, Wajir, Mandera, Tana River, Garissa, Marsabit, Kwale, West Pokot, Makueni and Kajiado counties,” said Wamalwa.
Earlier, Devolution CAS Ambassador Hussein Dado said 192,000 people in 14 counties are in dire need of food aid and relief efforts by the government need to be continuous to foil what is now a calamity, from getting worse.
Appearing before the Senate committee on Devolution and Inter-governmental relations, Dado said they have requested Sh7 billion from the National Treasury to help mitigate famine and hunger.
The Meteorological Department is predicting that rainfall will be depressed between the months of March and May, normally Kenya’s long rain season.