The Star (Nairobi)

17 January 2014

Kenya: 400,000 Starving in Turkana

Photo: Siegfried Modola/IRIN
Over 400,000 people face starvation in Turkana County (file photo).

The government has dispatched a team to survey the famine situation in Turkana county. The drought has affected at least 400,000 people. More than 35,000 children are out of school due to the drought.Most school children have dropped out to join their parents in the search for water and food.

Turkana county Disaster Management executive Charles Lokioto yesterday said the team will put in place intervention measures. He said children are the worst affected by the famine. Some families have migrated to Uganda to seek food and pasture for livestock.

So far more than 30,000 pastoralists have crossed the border into the neighbouring country and more are on the move. The worst affected villages are in North and East Uganda. "We have to take urgent measures to save the lives of the children and other people hit by hunger," said Lokioto.

Lokioto says the county government has sent out an appeal to humanitarian groups to come in aid of the starving families. "The drought situation is bad and many people are suffering. Hundreds of livestock have also died and we need help," said Lokioto.

Boreholes, rivers and all water points in the region have dried up within the last three weeks leading to severe drought and shortage of water. Lokioto says the county government has been buying food to help some of the starving families but the supplied are inadequate. The World Food Programme (WFP) has been distributing some relife food in parts of the county under the school feeding programme.

However may children have also dropped out of schools in the region especially in areas near the Kenya-Uganda border. The county administration has asked the government to step in and help the starving families. "We havent received any food supplies from the state but we have fowarded data to relevant authorities and we hope the government will respond,"says Lokioto.

"We urgently need the government and other groups to intervene in order to save the starving families," said John Kimori who works with civil society groups in the region. Kimori says the civil society groups had also sent out alerts to many other organizations to intervene in the situation adding that almost all parts of Turkana County were affected.

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