Monday, August 8, 2011

Floods hurt drive to feed the hungry

William Oeri | NATION Nine-year-old cancer survivor Rose Nasimiyu (right) was among those who came to Uhuru Park in Nairobi at the weekend for the flagging off of food for starving families in Northern Kenya. Relief supplies to families  facing starvation in parts of the North Rift have been disrupted by flash floods.

William Oeri | NATION Nine-year-old cancer survivor Rose Nasimiyu (right) was among those who came to Uhuru Park in Nairobi at the weekend for the flagging off of food for starving families in Northern Kenya. Relief supplies to families facing starvation in parts of the North Rift have been disrupted by flash floods. 

By BARNABAS BII [email protected]

Relief supplies to families facing starvation in parts of the North Rift have been disrupted by flash floods.

Several roads in Turkana West, Loima and Turkana South districts have been rendered impassable following heavy rains.

“Floods have made it impossible to access some of the famine-hit areas and distribute the relief food after some roads were cut off,” said Turkana West district commissioner Patrick Muriira.

He cited Letea and Lokitoto as some of the areas cut off by the floods.

“Normal handing over of food is expected to resume once the floods subside,” said Mr Muriira, adding that 2,000 bags of maize and 400 bags of beans and rice had been distributed to affected families.

Inadequate transport and mechanical breakdowns are other factors cited as slowing down the distribution of relief food in the expansive county.

“The frequent breakdown of vehicles due to poor roads is making it difficult to supply relief food to families in remote parts,” said Loima district commissioner Moses Ivuto.

He said 3,000 bags of maize, 300 bags of beans and 50 cartons of cooking oil have been distributed to famine-stricken families.

In Turkana South, authorities blamed poor roads for failure to distribute supplies to remote areas.

“We have to incur extra costs in repairing the trucks due to frequent breakdowns caused by the pathetic state of the roads,” said Mr Bethwel Sang, the acting district commissioner. He said his office had distributed 3,000 bags of maize and 400 bags of maize.

Thousands of people faced with starvation in Turkana North District heaved a sight of relief after receiving part of the 4,000 bags of maize and 600 bags of beans, among other food supplies meant for the area.

Turkana North district commissioner Jack Obuo named Latur and Kibish division as the hardest hit divisions, with hundreds of malnourished children and elderly people.

“We expect more food from the government and humanitarian organisations to save famine-stricken families from further starvation,” said Mr Obuo.

But rough terrain is making it difficult to access starving families located in remote parts of the arid region.

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