Leaders seek help to bar famine for 300,000 locals

Mandera South MP Adan Haji Ali at Sir Ali Muslim club ground in Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

About 300,000 people are facing famine in drought-hit Mandera, according to county leaders.

Some leaders from the county, led by Mandera South MP Adan Ali, launched an appeal for emergency assistance to mitigate the drought crisis.

The items the leaders are asking for include food, animal feed, water, fuel for borehole generators and support for irrigation programmes.

“The consequences of this adversity are massive distress movements of population, thereby causing interrupted education, massive drying up of water sources and livestock dying due to lack of fodder. In some cases, livestock owners are forced to sell at distress prices or just abandon the animals to fend for themselves,” said Mr Ali.

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Ali Noor, a Mandera elder, warned that lives could be lost if the Government failed to intervene.

According to Mr Noor, so dire is the situation that even wild animals are dying.

Mandera leaders further fear that the drought, which has been caused by the failure of four rain seasons, will worsen the situation by causing conflict.

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“The continuous movement of pastoralists within Mandera County during the drought season is likely to trigger and spark conflict due to struggle between communities for limited water and pasture,” Ali warned.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised over theft of relief food meant for vulnerable families in drought-hit areas in northeastern Kenya.

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Last week, four people, including Sangailu Assistant County Commissioner Looro Achumi, were arraigned over theft of relief food.

The prosecution told the court that Mr Achumi had signed that relief food from the inland depot had reached its destination and distributed yet the supply was still within Garissa Township.

Achumi was charged alongside Ibrahim Ali Hilowle.

They all denied the charges and were released on cash bail of Sh500,000 with surety of similar amount.

Last Tuesday, Ahmed Ore, a clerical officer at Fafi deputy county commissioner’s office, and businessman Abdi Buthul were charged in the same court with stealing of relief food and handling stolen goods.

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“It is very sad that Government officers who are responsible for taking care of the people’s needs are taking advantage of the vulnerability of the people by stealing rations meant to reduce their suffering,” said Khalif Abdi, the coordinator Northern Forum for Democracy.

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