25 September 2017

Kenya: Families in Northern Kenya Migrate as Hunger Bites

Photo: Jared Nyataya/Daily Nation
Cyril Cheruiyot (left), Agriculture Chief Executive for Uasin Gishu County, at a farm belonging to Leonard Kimutai (right), a resident in the county on June 26, 2017.

Thousands of families faced with starvation in parts of Rift Valley are in urgent need of relief supplies and access to health care.

In Baragoi, Samburu North, more than 55,000 people are facing a humanitarian crisis due to drought and insecurity experienced in the area.

The insecurity sparked by two warring communities has left thousands of residents stranded in their homes for fear of being attacked in grazing fields.

Drought and cattle rustling blamed on the scramble for grazing lands, water, food and banditry have aggravated the situation.

MIGRATION

Hunger-stricken families have also migrated from their homes in Samburu, Marsabit, Isiolo and Turkana counties in search of food and water.

Statistics issued by the Samburu County Director of Disaster Peace and Cohesion Daniel Lesorgor indicate that about 27,120 Samburu East residents have been affected.

Around 25,000 Samburu North residents and about 3,200 migrants from Laisamis in Marsabit County face starvation.

"As a result of drought, most parts of the northern Kenya counties have witnessed massive movement of people and livestock to Suyan, which borders Suguta Valley to seek food and pasture," Mr Lesorgor said on Monday.

CROPS

In Turkana and West Pokot counties, a survey by the Kenya Red Cross Society indicates some families are faced with malnourishment.

The food shortage is due to crop failure caused by drought that damaged crops planted in April and May.

"Most households are still faced with acute food shortage that has pushed prices of the commodities beyond the reach of many and the situation might worsen as a result of delayed rainfall," Mr Michael Ayabei, the Kenya Red Cross programme manager in charge of the North Rift region, said.

He said parts of Elgeyo-Marakwet County were some of the areas experiencing inadequate food supply.

"We do not have exact number of people faced with starvation but the hunger situation changed in the last three months after some areas received rainfall," Mr Ayabei said.

DRY SPELL

A report by the National Drought Management Authority indicates that families in 23 arid and semi-arid counties were faced with food shortage and inadequate pasture and water for their animals caused by dry spell.

"The food and pasture situation has improved slightly from alarm to alert although it might take some time before it stabilises," Mr Abdulkadir Jillo, Turkana County drought coordinator, said.

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