Over 200, 000 people are in dire need of humanitarian support in Kitui County, the Kenya Food Security Steering Group report has revealed.
According to the Group’s food security prognosis report seen by Kenya News Agency, the future remains bleak with indications of further deterioration in food security situation as the dry spell progresses.
On the same score, the report states that water stress is bound to increase further as more water sources dry up, declining livestock prices and increased risk of child malnutrition in the county.
‘It is expected that the onset of the November � January 2018 short rains will support the regeneration of rangeland resources and improved livestock production despite fears of climate change that may alter the weather patterns,’ read part of the report.
‘However, scores of households in Mwingi Central are in dire need of humanitarian assistance following depressed rainfall, Beatrice Adeny, ActionAid Project Coordinator Beatrice Adeny has said.
Adeny said that these households need urgent humanitarian intervention to cushion them from a looming hunger crisis occasioned by the prolonged dry spell that has hit the area for the last few months.
Speaking on Monday in Mwingi, the Project Coordinator said that preliminary findings spearheaded by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group that toured the entire Kitui County estimated at an average of over 200, 000 people are in need of food relief.
‘Mwingi Central constituency is the worst hit in the whole of Kitui County and in dire need of help. The Ngomeni rock catchment water levels are depleted. Women walk for kilometres in search of the precious commodity all day long and sometimes spend a night at water kiosks,’ observed Adeny.
She disclosed that the rock catchment that serves a population of over 5, 000 households including livestock has dried up and dashed the hopes of the locals who relied on its water.
The ActionAid project Coordinator said that time is wasted in search of water at the expense of engaging in other economic ventures meant to generate extra income to support their livelihoods.
Adeny disclosed that some of the current factors affecting food security included poor performance of the long rains, crop failure, domestic water stress in some areas leading to inadequate water and pastures for livestock.
Similarly, she noted that increasing food insecurity in the country is another contributing factor adding that insecurity and conflict along the porous Tana River County border is affecting food security.
Commenting on rainfall patterns, Adeny said that the county below normal rainfall of about 65 mm during the long March-May rains
‘The distance to the nearest water point has risen from 3-6 kilometres in May to around 5-10 kilometres. This has had a strain on the household’s economic progress,’ she added.
The ActionAid official observed that, ‘Even with any humanitarian assistance, at least one in five households in a given area have extreme lack of food and other basic needs where starvation, death and destitution are evident.’
The Kenya Food Security Steering Group has recommended the up-scaling of current crop production improvement programmes such as the growing of cow peas, green grams, sorghum and millet.
On the water sector, the group is calling for the desilting of 16 earth dams and rock catchment, servicing of 150 boreholes and rehabilitation of 40 boreholes to ensure water at a reasonable distance from the home.
Source: Kenya News Agency