HELPING THE HUNGRY

Famine-stricken Turkana begins Sh419m relief food distribution

County says at least 640,000 people are in dire need of food

In Summary
  • Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok says the food distribution is meant to cushion the residents affected by the biting drought.
  • The county announces that at least 640,000 people are in dire need of food as drought continues. 
Residents of Lobolo in Turkana Central receives food donation from Maisha Magic
Residents of Lobolo in Turkana Central receives food donation from Maisha Magic
Image: HEBORN ETYANG

The Turkana government has started the distribution of relief food worth Sh419 million to the families affected by drought and famine. 

Governor Josphat Nanok said the drive is meant to cushion residents affected by the biting drought.

The county announced that at least 640,000 people are in dire need of food. It has not received any rainfall since August last year.

The Public Administration and Disaster Management said the relief food procured was 4,925 tonnes worth Sh419 million.

The response comes after Loima MP Jeremiah Lomurkai recently raised concern that Sh419 million was allocated for relief food to cushion families from drought and hunger, but no distribution had taken place.

“If there were plans to supply relief food to the affected people then what is hindering them?” Lomurkai asked. 

The lawmaker said thousands of people are facing starvation and in the next few days, people will start dying if food is not distributed. 

“Don’t wait for people to start dying then you start food distribution and complain that media used pictures of starving people from South Sudan and DR Congo to highlight the drought and hunger crisis,” he told Nanok. 

But the governor said they had started relief food distribution in Kibish, Turkana North and Turkana East and would continue the drive into Turkana Central and other affected regions.

“Relief food distribution is ongoing to the affected families.  We are also facing the challenge of water scarcity in the county. Water pans and boreholes have dried up or have been overused, leading the water table to go down,” he said.

He said the county is collaborating with partners to ensure that areas where water sources have dried up or destroyed, get water through trucking or repairing the destroyed ones.

Women in Lobolo village, Turkana Central, queue for relief food donated by Maisha project organisation
Women in Lobolo village, Turkana Central, queue for relief food donated by Maisha project organisation
Image: HESBORN ETYANG

Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro on March 17 flagged off a consignment of relief food to cushion residents from effects of Covid-19 and severe drought.

He said the hardest-hit areas were Turkana North, Kibish, Turkana West, Turkana East, Turkana Central and Loima.

 “The county government, through the Covid-19 fund, has procured 70,000 bags of white maize, 6,500 bags of rice, 16,000 bags of beans and 15,000 cans of cooking oil, which will cover 11,000 households estimated at a population of 640,366 in the entire county,” Lotethiro said.

-Edited by Sarah Kanyara