Thousands in Marsabit in need of food and water as famine persists

Thousands in Marsabit in need of food and water as famine persists

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Date: 19 January 2017 05:56

Thousands of residents of Marsabit County who are reeling in famine owing to prolonged drought are in dire need of relief food and water.

Governor Ukur Yatani has appealed to schools not to send away students who lack of fees as sources of livelihood for many parents have been crippled by the drought.

Mr Yatani said that majority of the affected are nomadic pastoralist communities whose sources of livelihood have been destroyed by drought after 80 per cent of the county failed to receive the recent short rains.

The situation is so dire that 50 per cent of livestock including cattle, camels, sheep and goats, that locals depend on, has died, said the governor.

He was speaking Thursday during a peace meeting held at Jaldesa watering point.

The governor called on herders to bear with each other during this time of need and to amicably share available grazing resources that include water and pasture.

HORN OF AFRICA

Mr Yatani noted that the severe drought is being experienced in the whole of the horn of Africa and called on Marsabit herders to accommodate their counterparts from neighbouring counties and countries who are escaping famine back at home.

“We are faced with an acute water shortage for both domestic and livestock use with over 120 places across the county already placed under water trucking operations,” he said.

The governor termed the situation as bad and appealed to the national government, non-governmental organisations and well-wishers to intervene.

He said the national government should declare the drought and famine situation in various parts of the country a national disaster which he said will attract wider help including that from the international community in order to avert loss of lives.

“I want to take a commitment as a leader of this county that we will not allow any person to die of hunger. I have met with MCAs and we have agreed to postpone some projects until this crisis is over,’’ he said.

RELIEF FOOD DISTRIBUTED

According to the governor, his administration has so far distributed 700 tonnes of an assortment of relief food that include rice, beans and cooking oil to the affected people estimated at over 150,000.

He said his government is running out of resources to support the affected people, adding that a supplementary budget was being sought through the county assembly.

“Buying food rations, providing fuel to run boreholes and water trucking is very costly and has exhausted our contingency allocation owing to the vastness of the region and the high number of people in need of assistance,” he noted.

Lack of livestock market that would help herders to offload their herds has also worsened the situation.

Parents with children in secondary and colleges are now unable to raise school fees.

The governor called for patience among school principals saying his government is looking for a way of raising money to assist the affected.

Speaking at the function, County Commissioner Magu Mutindika reiterated that the government will provide relief food to the needy and asked sub-county distribution committees to ensure there is transparency.

Mr Mutindika cautioned against any attempts to divert food aid from the government adding that anybody caught doing so will be severely dealt with.


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