Wednesday, January 19, 2011

150,000 face hunger in region

By WYCLIFF KIPSANG [email protected]

More than 150,000 people are on the verge of starvation in East Pokot.

All the 58 sub-locations in the area are in dire need of relief food following erratic rains last year which led to withering of crops.

“The drought is escalating everyday and we should brace ourselves for hard times ahead,” warned the district commissioner Amos Mariba.

“I, however, assure the people that no one will die during this time of stress,” Mr Mariba told the district steering group in his office on Wednesday.

The last time the area received relief food was September last year when 1,000 bags of maize, 1,100 bags of beans, and 50 cartons of cooking oil was supplied.

“We need more supplies as nearly all the people are in need of relief food,” said Mr Mariba, adding that the food only went to the most vulnerable groups including the sick, the aged and primary schools.

The administrator urged donors to support government efforts by donating more food to the hunger-stricken residents.

He said most schools were grappling with an acute water shortage.

The schools were being supplied with water by Ministry of Water lorries to prevent an outbreak of diseases as witnessed last year where more than 30 people died of cholera.

Hindered livestock sales

The situation has been aggravated by an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Marigat district which has hindered the sale of livestock.

The district drought management officer, Mr Julius Taikong’, said major rivers and lakes in the area had dried up and pastoralists had began moving with their animals to Laikipia East, Samburu, Marigat and Baringo North.