The government has disbursed relief food to schools in Tharaka Constituency, Tharaka-Nithi County which have been adversely affected by a ravaging drought.
The schools Wednesday received 1,200 bags of maize, 800 bags of beans, 100 bags of rice and 100 cartons of cooking oil through the food for fees programme.
During an event held in Marimanti town, Tharaka-Nithi County Commissioner Beverly Opwora also flagged off trucks from the Kenya Defence Forces that will deliver water to affected schools and villages in a bid to ensure learning is not paralysed and lives of people and livestock are not lost.
FOOD FOR FEES
Ms Opwora said the food for fees programme will benefit 320 needy students from eight secondary schools whose school fees will be paid by the government using the food.
“Many students from [poor] families have dropped from school because their parents cannot afford to pay school fees due to the prolonged drought but through this programme they are going to report back,” said Ms Opwora.
County National Drought Management Authority official Hussein Idhoro said the situation is alarming and drastic interventions must be taken to save lives.
He said almost all permanent rivers in the region have dried up, forcing people to travel with their livestock for many kilometres to Tana River County, which borders Tharaka-Nithi and Kitui to get water.
“Due to the prolonged drought in Tharaka North and Tharaka South sub-counties, the situation is alarming and requires drastic interventions,” said Mr Idhoro.
Deputy Governor Nyamu Kagwima said the region needs about Sh10 billion to build reservoirs to store water during rainy seasons for use during dry periods.
The county commissioner said residents of Tharaka North and Tharaka South are in dire need of food and water.
She said in Igambang’ombe Sub-County, at least 75 percent of the residents have been affected by the hunger with 15 percent in Maara and Chuka sub-counties also in need of help.
Some of the institutions which will benefit from the relief food are Kabuabua, Kamacabi, Nkondi, Ndaruni and Kamwathu secondary schools in Tharaka North and Tharaka South.
Ten schools and six health facilities in the region will also get water tanks that will be refiled until rains fall.
The county boss said they are in consultation with the leadership of Meru County to ensure that illegal water intakes upstream are demolished to allow the little water available to reach people who are downstream.