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High alert as famine grips NEP

BUSIA
By | January 12th 2011

By ALI ABDI

Eighty per cent of 400,000 residents of Isiolo and Marsabit counties will require relief food by next month.

Regional Commissioner for Upper Eastern Wenslas Ong’ayo yesterday said an estimated 50 per cent of the 396,864 residents were surviving on relief food from the Government and World Food Programme.

The grim picture comes in the wake of reports that two old men left behind by their families who migrated in search of pasture and water died of hunger in North Horr last week.

Received report

"We have received the report of the two deaths but they may not have been related to hunger. The situation is not that bad to the extent of someone succumbing to lack of food," Mr Ong’anyo told reporters in his Isiolo office, yesterday.

However, Marsabit leaders led by Narc-Kenya chairman Alexander Barille said the two men starved to death at Hurri Hills, after they were left uncared for by relatives.

"The situation is bad. Any one saying they died due to other reasons should come to the ground and see. The old men were left behind by migrating families and did not have any food stocks left. Many more would die if there is no urgent intervention,’’ said Mr Barille.

While reacting to leaders’ concerns over inadequate or yet to be distributed relief food, Ong’ayo admitted respective districts had not received money for logistics.

The administrator directed the ten DCs in the region to make local arrangements and transport the relief food to needy families with immediate effect.

"We have directed DCs to use local means to transport the relief food from the depots to all the locations. They do not need money to transport the consignments," said Ong’ayo.

Yesterday, it emerged most areas had not received relief food this month due to lack of funds for transport. In Moyale, Drought Management Officer Molu Sora said while 40 per cent of residents are on relief food, the figure had risen to 70 per cent, hence the consignment was not enough to cover the new cases.

In Saku, Laisamis and North Horr, Barille said those on relief food were 45 per cent while the needy cases had shot up to more than 80 per cent by last month. "The residents of the three constituencies are yet to get ration for this month. We also want the Government and WFP to increase the monthly supply," Barille said.

Ong’ayo said the Government would contribute to the WFP sponsored School Feeding Programme.

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