- Areas worst affected include Ithanga and Kakuzi in Gatanga subcounty, Gaturi and Kambirwa in Murang’a East subcounty, and Kambiti in Murang’a South subcounty.
- The National Drought Management Authority plans to start issuing relief food to 2,716 worst affected families mid this month.
A total of 45,506 residents of Murang’a county are facing starvation and require urgent aid.
The National Drought Management Authority has said the affected areas include Ithanga and Kakuzi areas in Gatanga subcounty, Gaturi and Kambirwa in Murang’a East, and Kambiti in Murang’a South.
NDMA’s coordinator in Murang’a, Kirinyaga and Nyeri counties Loroman Lekalkuli said insufficient rains recorded in the short rains season between October and December last year, left many families with insufficient food.
Lekalkuli said harvests were also affected by the fall army worms and the African army worms, and that many farmers who relied on rivers to irrigate their farms were affected when they either dried up or had significantly reduced water levels.
As such, the coordinator said most farmers in the county recorded a 65 per cent crop failure while some in areas such as Murang’a South had a 95 per cent crop failure.
But the government has put in place measures to mitigate the situation and ensure no life is lost to starvation, he said.
By mid this month, Lekalkuli said about 2,716 households that have been worst hit by lack of food will be provided with relief food.
Further, the National Steering Committee on Drought Response will rehabilitate two boreholes at a cost of Sh4.5 million to provide water to locals.
“Water scarcity is another issue that has affected many residents of the said areas but the government has put in place measures to mitigate the issue,” he said.
With the Kenya Meteorological department asking Kenyans to brace for reduced rains in the forthcoming long rains season that occurs between March, April and May, the coordinator appealed to Kenyans to ensure they harvest as much rain water as possible.
He cited schools, farmers and pastoralists who he said should ensure they reserve rain water for use when the rains subside.
“As the government, we are also preparing to ensure Kenyans who will be affected by lack of food because of the reduced rains are supported, while boreholes that may have broken down will be restored to ensure they serve the community.”
The drought, he noted, has affected the education, agriculture, livestock and health sectors.
For the first time in history, the county that supplies about 84 per cent of water consumed in Nairobi has seen major rivers dry up, leaving many residents without the resource.
Rivers such as Maragua, Mathioya and Sagana has had their water flow reduced to levels that has exposed their beds.
The county hosts Ndakaini dam that has the capacity to store 70 million cubic metres of water and channels about 430,000 cubic metres of water to the capital city everyday.
The National government has also constructed the Northern Collector tunnel that is constructed along rivers Gikigie, Irati and Maragua and is set to boost supply to Nairobi by 140,000 cubic metres of water daily.
-Edited by SKanyara