Hungry Samburu residents eat wild fruit, wait for relief food
10,000 bags of relief food ordered by the county is at the cereals board depot waiting to be collected. Officials inspected it, but have not distributed it to starving residents
Ten thousand bags of relief food has been stored for two weeks at the Maralal town cereals depot in Samburu county, even as hungry residents desperately look for food and eat wild fruit and seeds.
NCPB depot manager Sammy Kipng’etich said, “We are only waiting for the county to prepare their logistics and come to collect the maize. It has been here for two weeks.”
The Star established that families in Samburu East spend their days along roads with the hope that a vehicle will deliver relief food.
Samburu East deputy county commissioner Winston Mulubi said, “As you drive along the Wamba-Maralal and Isiolo-Wamba roads, you will notice many malnutritioned women in the bushes trying to get wild fruits and seeds. This is all they can afford to eat.”
They also feed their livestock on the wild fruits and seeds.
Many villages are deserted as most families have moved with their livestock to Isiolo and Laikipia counties in search of water and pasture.
Drought has ravaged Kenya and 1.3 million people face starvation.
The Samburu government had earlier announced that starving families will start receiving relief food. However, the food has not been distributed to starving residents.
Some 10,000 bags of maize have been received at the National Cereals and Produce Board depot in Maralal.
The Sh11 million stock is said to have been ordered by the county.
Kipng’etich said officers from the Samburu Health department inspected the maize at the depot to ascertain it is good for human consumption, but it is yet to be collected and distributed.
Four weeks ago, the National Drought Management Authority and the Samburu government assessed the drought and said 54,000 residents were at risk of starvation.
During the Mashujaa Day celebrations at Kenyatta Stadium in Maralal town on October 20, county commissioner Mohamed Birik assured residents that the national government had sent emergency relief food.
He said the county had received 600 bags of maize, 300 bags of rice, 300 bags of beans and cooking oil.
The prolonged drought has forced women to walk long distances in search of water. Elizabeth Nasieku, a mother of six, told the Star she sets out in the wee hours of the morning with a 20-litre jerrican and her threeyear-old son, a journey that may take the whole day to and fro.
Most residents go to River Nagor Oworu, about 25-30 kilometres away. It is the nearest water source, as other water points have dried up.
Nasieku said they sometimes queue for three to four hours by the river as pastoralists from various areas water their livestock, before they are allowed to draw water.
Maize stock at the National Cereals and Produce Board depot in Maralal, Samburu county. It is yet to be distributed to starving residents