Four million Kenyans in 23 counties are facing hunger, with 13 counties being the most affected, Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) reports.
This was revealed during the national launch of the livestock off-take programme at Makindu, Makueni County.
KRCS Secretary General Asha Mohammed disclosed that there are 800,000 children, most of them below five years, who suffering from malnutrition in the affected counties.
She added the agency was in the process of distributing food supplements to the affected families.
“In the entire country, we are passing the 800,000 mark of those children who are malnourished, with Turkana and Marsabit counties leading with the highest number of these children,” said Dr Mohammed.
KRCS expressed fear that the number of those facing hunger was likely to rise if the expected October rains fail.
“In 2021, we had 2.8 million persons but now we are passing 4 million and this is expected to grow,” said Mohammed.
The livestock off-take programme is being facilitated by the national government through Kenya Meat Commission in partnership with KRCS.
KMC’s Managing Commissioner James Githaga said the agenct will buy, slaughter at site and distribute the meat to vulnerable families.
“We are targeting those weak animals likely to die because of drought. Across our targeted 13 counties, the government will buy and slaughter 26,000 cattle in the next four weeks,” Brigadier Githaga told journalists.
He said the worst-hit counties were Marsabit and Turkana.
Some of the locals from Makindu recounted how famine had affected their families.
“I do menial jobs on a daily basis but when I fail to have someone to offer me a job, on that particular day we have to go without a meal,” said Sera Muteti, a beneficiary who had turned up to get meat.