NEW STRATEGY

Turkanas protest switch from relief food to cash transfer

The challenge is how much can comfortably sustain vulnerable families during droughts

In Summary

• Most victims of drought operate in remote regions to search water and pastures they might not get access to cash transfers.

• CS Wamalwa says the annual ritual of relief food distribution in drought-stricken areas will come to an end in 2023.

Drought victims wait for relief food rations in Turkana
MANY HUNGRY MOUTHS: Drought victims wait for relief food rations in Turkana
Image: Hesborn Etyang

The people of Turkana on Monday rejected the decision by the national government to transit from relief food to cash transfer.

“The cash transfer programmes have been done in Turkana but the challenge has been how much can comfortably sustain vulnerable families during droughts,” Esther Lokwii, the county Disaster Management executive, said. 

Last week, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa announced that food assistance to the hungry will cease soon and the needy will henceforth be given money to buy food.

 

He was launching the task force for digital migration from relief to cash transfer lieu for food system.

Lokwii called for a feasibility study before the cash transfer process is effected.

Nanam MCA Cosmas Longor said most drought victims are in remote regions in search of water and pasture and are unlikely to benefit from cash transfers.

Peter Ekai, a Lodwar resident, said switching off relief food distribution will not reduce the suffering. Cash will only benefit a few individuals, he said.

“Turkana has been hit by drought for many years. Interventions by the government, NGOs and well-wishers to provide relief food have been the best. Cash transfer will not be efficient or reach all affected hunger victims as many of them are vulnerable and illiterate and with no access to mobile phones,” he said.

In June, Wamalwa had said the annual ritual of relief food distribution in drought-stricken areas will come to an end in 2023.

The promise to switch off from the relief food to cash transfer follows the signing of an agreement with the World Food Programme which will ensure accountability in humanitarian relief assistance during emergencies.