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MPs plead for relief food for drought stricken constituents

“Livestock are already dying for lack of pasture and water. We ask the government to move with speed and provide food supplies,” Baringo North MP William Cheptumo said/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – Eight lawmakers from pastoralist communities in Kenya on Tuesday appealed to the government to urgently send relief aid to areas hardest hit by the ravaging drought.

Speaking at Parliament buildings, the Members of Parliament said that people and animals were dying due to lack of food and water.

“Livestock are already dying for lack of pasture and water. We ask the government to move with speed and provide food supplies,” Baringo North MP William Cheptumo said.

Cheptumo urged the government to send relief aid directly to the sub-location level for easier accessibility.

It was his request that the government should also focus on schools to ensure that learning continues despite the drought.

The leaders expressed concerns that the situation was so dire that a good number of schools had already been shut down as masses of people moved to neighbouring South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia with the hope of finding water and pasture.

Unfortunately, the three countries are equally affected by the drought and with such movement of Kenyans, it is likely to spark conflict due to struggle for limited water and pasture.

“We are facing eminent threats from South Sudan. It has serious effect to the livelihoods of Turkanas,” Turkana North MP Christopher Nakuleau complained.

Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto said the situation was a disaster that would soon lead to a health crisis.

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“People and animals are drinking from the same container. The water is very dirty, it will now lead to other problems,” he regretted.

But even as the legislators appealed for aid and demanded for more long-term measures like dams, there are many questions that continue to linger in the minds of many people.

Famine in some areas in Kenya has been like an annual event.

Not even the early warnings from different organisations including the government itself have seen the country come up with better approaches of dealing with the perennial and obvious droughts.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) last year warned that Kenya would face a serious drought in 2017, a warning that had become a grim reality in January.

Last week, when the pangs of hunger were already being felt in some areas of the country, Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri announced that more than 10 million Kenyans would be affected by the famine when he announced an allocation of Sh9.2 billion that would be channelled to mitigate the effects.

READ: 2 Million Kenyans face hunger as drought bites

As much as fingers are directed to the National Government, what is the role of county leaders, Members of Parliament and others in the affected counties given Constituency Development Funds and other kitties sent to counties?

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