More than 160,000 people in Tana River County are facing hunger following prolonged drought.
County commissioner Oningo’oi Olesosio said the affected represent 85 per cent of the county’s population.
The situation is anticipated to worsen if the expected short rains fail.
Speaking to Nation, Mr Olesosio said the government and World Food Programme (WFP) have partnered to supply monthly relief food to cushion the affected people against the adverse effects of the drought. “Every month, we distribute 2,000 bags of maize, cooking oil and maize flour to each of the affected individuals,” he added.
Kenya Red Cross Society is separately distributing food to thousands of residents in the three affected sub-counties.
The Red Cross is implementing a three-month programme dubbed Chakula kwa Jamii that was launched in September, where Sh3,049 is given per household in 104 affected areas.
Mr Olesosio added that the water trucking programme is also ongoing in most parts of Tana North and Tana River sub-counties, which are grappling with a water crisis.
Tana River Governor Dhadho Godhana said the county had acquired five trucks from well-wishers to increase water supply to the affected population. “Two will be used in Tana North, Two in Galole and one in Tana Delta,” he said.
The county commissioner further stated that the national government’s water trucking programme is meant to supplement a similar initiative being undertaken by the county government.
Mr Olesosio said the drought has forced herders in Bura and Galole constituencies to migrate with their animals to Tana Delta in search of water and pasture. He noted that the move had sparked tension between herders and farmers, especially in Kipini.
Mr Olesosio added that livestock concentration in the area had caused serious strain on water and pasture.
“The local security committee and elders from various communities have managed to find solutions on how both the visitors and locals can share the limited resources without coming into conflict,” he said.
But as the county commissioner assured that the government will do all it can to ensure no person will die due to the severe drought, the National Drought Management Authority has raised the alarm that the situation will worsen in coming days.
The agency has stated that Tana North sub-county might witness a severe humanitarian crisis if the expected short rains will not start in earnest.
The county’s drought coordinator Abdi Mussa said more than 600 livestock had died due to the drought.
Drought situation in Tana River County expected to worsen if the expected short rains fail.