Starving Learners in Laikipia benefit From Relief Food, Donations
Starving schoolchildren in Laikipia County have benefited from the government’s first delivery of relief food.
Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu said during the flagging off of the relief food in Nanyuki that the food would be distributed to most of the area’s drought-affected schools.
“We have targeted schools which will receive the relief food and the quantity. We have done that in partnership with The Primary Schools Heads Association (KEPSHA) and The Secondary Schools Heads Associations.
“I want to tell parents that not all schools will get food but only the most affected, however, the rest will receive as we move forward,” said the governor, adding that due to the drought situation school enrolment had dropped.
Among the items flagged were 2000 bags of rice weighing 25 kilograms each, 833 cans of oil weighing 10 litres, and 185 bags of beans weighing 90 kilograms. Previously, the governor stated that he would set aside Sh20 million to address the county’s drought situation.
He stated that all development projects had been halted in order to address the county’s dire drought situation.
“We are still soliciting for resources and to feed our people especially now that we are experiencing drought. We will not allow our people to die of hunger,” said Irungu.
Laikipia East Deputy Commissioner Patrick Muli stated that students had fainted as a result of hunger, and that the government is committed to resolving the situation.
He also urged the targeted beneficiaries to use the food responsibly and not divert it elsewhere.
Charles Nyakundi, the Laikipia County Director in Charge of Education, stated that the school feeding program will be well implemented and that no student will be sent home. Some Nanyuki and Solio schools benefited.
The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) estimates that approximately 183,000 people in Laikipia are facing famine.
Laikipia was designated as having reached the alarm drought stage, with two counties, Tharaka Nithi and Tana River, bringing the total number of counties at risk to ten.
Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Turkana, Wajir, Samburu, and Marsabit are among the other counties that have reached the alert level.
To combat the effects of drought, the Nyeri Catholic Archdiocese has launched a school feeding program in primary schools in Laikipia North.
According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), drought has affected 183,000 people in Laikipia County.
According to the church, most students in the area have dropped out of school, while others have been married off due to a lack of food in their homes.
On Tuesday, Fr David Ouma of the Doldol Catholic Mission Church told the Nation that the feeding program would enroll about 2,000 students in the sub-county.
“Pupils in Laikipia North are unable to concentrate on their learning due to starvation. A majority of them have dropped out of school while others have been married off. The situation on the ground is becoming worse day by day,” Fr Ouma said.
“The entire community in Laikipia North is hungry and in dire need of help. We [aim] to reach out to 2,000 pupils during this programme and we are looking forward to feeding more of them. That is why we are urging well-wishers to join this programme.”
The Nyeri archdiocese, led by Archbishop Anthony Muheria, has been mobilizing food donations, which will be distributed to schools beginning this weekend.
Father Ouma spoke after receiving food donations totaling Sh205,000 from students and staff at the archdiocese’s St Mary’s Boys Secondary School Nyeri.
According to St Mary’s Principal Francis Njoroge, students and staff contributed money during the holidays in response to a request from the archdiocese.
The feeding program, according to Sister Esther Ndonga, a religious education adviser in the Nyeri archdiocese, is intended to keep children in school and encourage more students to embrace education.
According to Laikipia County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri, no students have died from starvation, and the county and national governments will begin distributing food to homesteads.
NDMA Laikipia County coordinator Golicha Guyo told the Nation that while rain had fallen in some areas of the region, many households, particularly in Laikipia North, were suffering from hunger.
He added that 5,000 to 7,000 cattle remained trapped in the Mt Kenya and Aberdare forests, where they had been driven earlier this year in search of pasture. Some of the cattle come from neighboring counties such as Isiolo, Samburu, and Meru.
According to data from the Kenya Red Cross’s local office, 2,313 cows, sheep, and goats have been slaughtered as part of the livestock offtake program.
The Kenya Meat Commission, Ministry of Interior, Kenya Red Cross, and NDMA oversee the program, which involves slaughtering livestock affected by hunger and distributing the meat to locals as relief food.
Aside from meat, households in Laikipia North have received food aid in the form of maize flour, rice, green grams, and cooking oil, primarily in Mukogodo East and Mukogodo West wards.
According to the local Kenya Red Cross office, 1,500 of the 2,000 affected households in the two wards received food rations between July and September.
The food rations are intended to last three weeks, implying that the affected households will require ongoing assistance.