The Star (Nairobi)

3 February 2014

Kenya: Over 300,000 Face Starvation in West Pokot

West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin has expressed concern over the increasing number of people facing starvation in the area.

Speaking yesterday to the press in his office in Kapenguria, Kachapin said 297,793 people in the county are in need of relief food due to the drought being experienced.

He said 205,445 animals are faced with water shortage while 48,840 children have malnutrition problems. Kachapin said the situation is getting worse for human beings and animals.

"Short rains failed which led to the drying of vegetation,"the governor said.

Kachapin said Pokot North subcounty on the Tulkwel belt in West Pokot district and parts of Pokot Central subcounty are the most affected. He said his government will allocate some money to buy relief food during the supplementary budget expected to be passed next week by county assembly.

Kachapin said his government has sent 200 bags of maize and 10 of beans to the hard hot areas.

He said his government in collaboration with the national government will drill more bore holes, put up more irrigation schemes and construct dams as long-term measures.

Kachapin called on the national government to assist the affected people with relief food. He said Turkana and West Pokot counties experience the same climatic conditions and food should be supplied equally to both.

Two weeks ago the county National Drought Management Authority (issued an alert over the drought situation in the area.

According to the data released by NDMA, all the three livelihoods which include pastoral, mixed farming and high potential zones received less than 10mm of rainfall ,which is less than the normal average expected of about 20mm to 40mm.

Most of the pastoralists in North Pokot have moved to the neighbouring country, Uganda in search of the pasture and water.

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