Hundreds of thousands face death by starvation in drought-hit areas of Kilifi
By Maureen Ongala | January 30th 2017
More than 300,000 people are faced with starvation, as over 1,000 animals have died as a result of the drought in recent months.
Chief Officer in charge of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries Baha Nguma said 25,000 more head of cattle were at risk of dying soon.
Mr Nguma said the county was among those severely affected by drought. There are 21 counties that have been greatly hit.
Addressing the media in his office, Nguma said the drought had affected both humans and animals in parts of Kilifi North sub-county, Ganze, Bamba, Kaloleni and Magarini.
"The ongoing drought has really hit us. This has caused a food shortage and forced people to walk long distances in search of water because the boreholes are dry. The animals are dying for lack of pasture," he said, adding that so far no people had been reported dead.
Nguma said the county government was working with other stakeholders, including the national government through the National Government Relief Food Programme, to contain the situation.
He said the county government had for the past one and a half years used Sh100 million to buy relief food for distribution in Ganze, Kaloleni and Magarini sub-counties.
He expressed fears that the drought might be spreading fast to other parts of the county as residents of Kilifi South sub-county raised the alarm about a food shortage.
He said organisations such as the Red Cross Society of Kenya, World Food Programme (WFP) and the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) had distributed food.
"Red Cross Society of Kenya has directly pumped in more than Sh100,000 for food and also given cash to 1,000 most affected residents. The mapped individuals will be given Sh6,000 for four months. And NDMA has distributed 3,000 bags of livestock feed together with vitamin supplements."
He said the drought management authority together with the Kenya Meat Commission were conducting livestock off-take to relieve farmers of any losses they would incur during the drought.
Already, 1,500 cows have been purchased at prices ranging from Sh6,000 to Sh8,000 each.
"In areas where we have schools or communities and the residents are starving, we purchase the animals and then slaughter them for food," he added.
In July last year, more than 300 residents of Ngamani in Ganze sub-county were reduced to eating wild fruits.
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