Food aid drive launched for hunger-stricken locals

A Turkana herdsman accompanied by a herdsboy migrate with cattle to the border of Ethiopia in search of water and pasture for the animals due to biting drought in the region. [Lucas Ngasike, Standard]

To combat the region's hunger, the county government of Turkana has started distributing relief food to drought victims.

During monitoring of the relief food distribution in Lodwar, public services and disaster management county executive Jeremiah Namuya said 486 tonnes of relief food was distributed.

Namuya added that the county was responding to the severe drought to prevent deaths from starvation. "We want to make sure the most vulnerable people get the critical services they need to avoid disease or death as a result of the drought. We are confident the current situation will be resolved," he said.

Namuya said the county procured 2,464 tonnes of relief food for the region's starving residents in the previous fiscal year. This year, some Sh300 million has been set aside for relief food.

The executive acknowledged that more people need food assistance and other forms of livelihood support than had previously been estimated, but assured residents that the county will be able to cope with the growing number of hungry residents.

"Our focus for the next few days will be the red banner villages of Nakwamekwi in Lodwar Township, as well as all other hotspots in Kanamkemer, Kalokol, and Kangatotha," Namuya said.

The county's most recent drought analysis report shows more than 500,000 Turkana residents are in desperate need of emergency relief food. To assist the county's emergency relief efforts, the World Food Programme says it will expand its drought response plans.  

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