Wajir County Governor Amb Mohamed Abdi Mohamud has flagged off relief foods comprising of rice, sifted maize meal and cooking oil to be distributed to all the residents.
The County has experienced various disasters for the last one year from severe drought, flash floods, locust invasion to sporadic bush fire compounded by insecurity which has made the county food insecure.
Recently the frequency and intensity of disaster have increased giving less time for the community to recover from the shocks and stress caused by the disasters.
This is partly due to the effects of climate change and global warming.
“We have an active invasion of desert locusts since 29th December 2019 and according to experts it is expected to be with us until June 2020. So far a total of 59 swarms have entered the county through areas bordering Somalia and Mandera causing extensive damages countywide through destruction of vegetation and crops,” said Mohamed.
He said the county had lost over 300, 000 hectares of vegetation and about 190 hectares of crops were damaged.
The governor said that due to the problems facing the local population the county government through the Department of Special Programmes procured the food for them.
“We have procured 678 metric tonnes of Rice, 638 MT of sifted maize meal and 88.9MT of cooking oil to support over 100,000 households in the 30 wards in 300 food distribution points,” he said.
The governor said the food was for the most vulnerable population and no deserving case shall be left out including the special groups such as the orphans, people with disabilities, elderly, single-headed families and families with extreme poverty.
Mohamed said the identification of beneficiaries had already been through the community, targeting where the leaders and county staff have identified most vulnerable persons within the community.
He said: “During the entire period of food distribution, I direct the Department of Town Administration and Decentralized Units to work very closely with the Department of Special Programmes and support in the supervision work.”
“I Specifically direct all Sub County and Ward Administrators to be at their respective duty stations keeping an eye on the exercise. Any reports on loss or sale of the relief food by anybody whether staff or a community member will not be condoned and will be met with the full force of the law.”
He said despite the destructions caused by the locusts, several interventions were made by the Community, County, National, International and local partners.
For instance, the community is handy in supporting the technical staff on the ground with information and occasionally chasing away the locusts especially during the initial stages of invasion. Similarly, with the support of the National Government and partners we were able to mount aerial and ground surveillance to track the swarms and identify GPS coordinates, provide chemicals, fuel, protective equipment and other logistics and eventually carry out aerial spraying.