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

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics General - MARTIN FUNDI @mar­t­in­fundi

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.

/MARTIN FUNDI

Maize stock at the Na­tional Ce­re­als and Pro­duce Board de­pot in Mar­alal, Sam­buru county. It is yet to be dis­trib­uted to starv­ing res­i­dents

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