Over 25, 000 residents of Murang’a County have been hit by severe drought and are now relying on relief food from the government.
The worst hit areas are the lower Murang’a namely Ithanga ward, Kakuzi / Mitumbiri, Kambiti, Kambirwa and some parts of Maragua constituency.
Murang’a County Commissioner Mr. John Elung’ata confirms that the number might escalate in due time since no single harvest was made in Murang’a compared to the previous years due to the pro-longed dry spell.
Elung’ata says that the government has initiated a plan to feed its people as it ventures to long time plans to mitigate drought in some of the areas that have been affected.
The CC also added that this year, the government has also donated rise, cooking oil and drinking water to the drought stricken areas.
On voter mobilization, the commissioner cautioned the residents who neighbors Machakos and Makueni County against voter transportation.
He also noted that most residents were complaining that the delay on issuance of IDs has necessitated majority of residents not to register as voters. The Commissioner was prompted to promise incentives to chiefs and elders who register the highest numbers of voters.
He was speaking at Ngaatho and Ithanga primary schools in Ithanga ward of Gatanga constituency that is worst hit by drought, where he was accompanied by Transport PS Mr. Irungu Nyakeera who helped in food distribution.
The PS noted that various quantities of food has been distributed by the national government, where he added that the government is also distributing formula floor for children.
Irungu said that the government has already formed a committee to mitigate the drought issue in 17 Counties that have been identified as drought stricken.
“We have mapped up the areas that are hardest hit and all of them are being given food.”
Irungu called on the people not to mix the drought issue with politics for there are serious issues on starvation where people do not want care who gives them food but all they need is something to eat.
Some of the residents affected like Esther Wanja Gitau are a frustrated lot after she planted quite a number of cereals but never harvested anything. She thanks the government for the food donated and appeals that the exercise be repeated frequently until the rains start, since many people in Ithanga are starving.
Wanja narrates that most are the times she is forced to boil unripe mangoes for her children when she cannot get anything else to feed the children. “Our God works in mysterious ways because even when we boil unripe mangoes for our children, they have never fallen ill although our biggest worry is that the mango season is almost over and we have no food in our shambas to give to our children.” She said
Stephen Ndung’u expresses concern that the people in the area are not lazy since they had tilled their farms only for the scorching sun to damage all the food crops.
Ndung’u feels that if only the government can provide the area with irrigation schemes, the hunger story from Ithanga will be a thing of the past.
He is however saddened by the mango season that he says is almost over. “These fruits have been a savior to us for years even though this year’s season was not a bumper one and as you can see, they are almost over and we will be left at the government’s and well-wisher’s mercy.” He said.
Murang’a women rep Sabina Chege who graced the event said the donations are however not a permanent solution but insists what Nyakeera had said that the government needs to come up with loing term plans to mitigate drought.
She expresses concern that Murang’a people are at the mercy of being donated food and even water where else their natural resource is being channeled to Nairobi.