Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Five die of hunger in Tana River as food crisis bites

Permanent Secretary for Ministry of State for Special Programmes Andrew Mondoh briefs journalists on the current drought and on-going interventions at the Ministry's offices in Nairobi on January 11, 2011. PHOTO /  CORRESPONDENT

Permanent Secretary for Ministry of State for Special Programmes Andrew Mondoh briefs journalists on the current drought and on-going interventions at the Ministry's offices in Nairobi on January 11, 2011. PHOTO / CORRESPONDENT 

By GALGALO BOCHA AND HASSAN BARISA newsdesk@ke.nationmedia.com

Five people have died of starvation in Tana River County.

Some 300 bags of maize and 200 bags of beans have been received from the World Food Programme for distribution to families in Bangale Division, where the deaths occurred.

Tana North district commissioner Reuben Loyotoman said by telephone that Bangale was severely hit by the drought and all water pans had dried up.

Coast provincial commissioner Ernest Munyi has warned that about 1.3 million people were at risk of starvation.

“Msambweni, Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Voi, the larger Tana River, Ganze and Kinango received poor rains. We don’t anticipate enough food in the next four-to five-months. Pasture and water are also gradually diminishing,” he said.

He added: “Livestock farmers have been advised to sell their animals to avoid losses. Buyers are coming in from North Eastern and parts of Rift Valley provinces.”

The PC said the harvest was good in March and June last year, but stocks would run out in the next five months.

Mr Loyotoman said pastoralists from as far as Wajir, Garissa and Ijara districts had converged on river banks with their animals, raising fear of an outbreak of diseases and conflict over grazing land.

Police patrols have been beefed up to forestall clan wars.

In Baomo Location, Galole Division, communities have appealed for urgent food aid.

According to a Unep report, the drought in parts of the country is a result of climate change.

The report says the climatic upheaval has been caused by temperature rise in Kenya of one degree Celsius since 1960.

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