The elderly and children continue to bear the brunt of the worsening drought in Turkana County despite concerted efforts by the government and partners to upscale drought response.
The rains, according to the locals, have failed in the last three years leaving vulnerable members without food and water.
The Sunday Standard met Amuriat Egiron, 72, a resident of Kakwanyang village in Turkana Central with his wife Alice Lotyeng’a, 58, during a recent visit.
Lotyeng’a, who appears stronger, has been nursing her emaciated husband after the couple failed to get enough food over the past couple of months.
Egiron said he lost livestock some years back after drought ravaged the county wiping out the entire herd of animals.
“Everyone in this village knew I was rich. I had herds of cattle, donkeys, camels and goats, but what the drought did to me I can’t imagine,” Egiron said.
Lotyeng’a told The Sunday Standard that her husband cannot walk or stand without her support because his health is deteriorating due to a lack of proper meals.
She weaves baskets and brooms to earn a living and sustain the family.
“If today I take brooms to the market to sell and don’t make a single sale. That day we sleep hungry,” she said. She sells a bale that contains 10 brooms at Sh70.
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She added that she has been feeding him ‘Nang’aria’, a local Turkana dish which is a semi-liquid kind of ugali prepared using maize flour.
The maize flour was bought for her by a well-wisher who was saddened by their state of living and miserable life.
The couple’s two children, they claimed abandoned them some years ago. They left upcountry and have never visited or revealed their whereabouts.
The couple recently got help after a well-wisher visited the village and promised to rescue them and provide them with food for the next three months.
Josephine Stegeman, gender-based violence activist and the founder of Dream International Organisation, who visited the family was moved to tears after the couple narrated their plight.
She also committed to building them a two-bedroom house and urged other well-wishers to join her in helping the starving Turkana population.
“These people never designed to live such a life, it is a natural calamity that all of us need to come and rescue them from,” appealed Stegeman.
Though the Turkana County government has scaled its efforts to distribute relief food, not all those who are in urgent of food aid have been reached due to the vastness of the county.
Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai has called on government and donor agencies to come to the rescue of the locals and alleviate their suffering.
“If we cannot intervene within the shortest time possible, these people will die, I am telling the world that this drought is worsening,” said Lomorukai.