More than 140,000 face hunger in Samburu, lose livestock to drought

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa (Second from left), who is also chairs the National steering committee on drought response, help in the distribution of relief food at at Nkaroni Center in Samburu County on December 30, 2022. [Michael Saitoti]

More than 140,000 people face starvation as persistent drought continues to ravage Samburu County.

Latest National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) data shows that 80 per cent of people in the county have lost their livestock, the region's mainstay.

This emerged as Wakenya Tulindane, the National Steering Committee on Drought Response, distributed relief food to affected residents at Nkaroni Centre on Friday.

The distribution was part of short-term measures initiated by the government, pending long-term interventions to support affected communities in five priority counties of Kilifi, Marsabit, Kitui, Samburu and Meru.

Mr Peter Ndegwa, the Safaricom chief executive officer, who also chairs the national steering committee on drought response, said the initiative targets the most affected counties.

Over 14,000 people in Samburu East received the food in the drive that targets 85,000 this festive season.

"The community in Samburu that depends largely on livestock is the most affected, prompting the emergency response. We are working on a long term solution," said Mr Ndegwa.

The Wakenya Tulindane team was established by President William Ruto last November to raise funds to supplement the government's drought response and mitigate the effects of the drought.

Mr Ndegwa revealed they had so far raised Sh600 million and urged Kenyans to continue to donating to the initiative, even through Bonga points.

Statistics from the drought monitoring agency show that over five million Kenyans are in dire need of food, with 4.3 million of these living in areas hit by severe drought.