Drought hits West Pokot; Governor says food isn’t sufficient

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West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo
West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo

The food and water crisis is getting worse in West Pokot County due to a devastating drought which has also claimed hundreds of livestock. Many residents have moved to Uganda as a result, with water source drying up. Over 60% of the entire population in the County is in dire need of food, keeping in mind that the region experienced total crop failure during the previous planting season.

Learning in most schools within the County has been affected and ther has been a general drop in enrollment. due to hunger. More than 40,000 pupils are not able to get food under the regular school meal programme during the first term after the World Food Program suspended food supplies in schools. Schools like Lonyangalem, Kases and Takaywa risk closure as absenteeism increases.

Some of the areas affected include Ombolion, Kasei, Turkwel, Kiwawa, Kodich, Alale among others. Locals have called on the government to distribute emergency relief food to assist the victims, who can’t even afford a single meal a day.

Area Governor John Lonyangapuo said that the situation is getting worse and residents are in need of food. “We are disbursing food but it’s not enough as many people need food,” he said.

He said the County government has rolled out a food distribution program in the County since many of the areas in North and Central Pokot are affected. “These residents need a continuous supply of food on a monthly basis, until we receive rain in the month of May,” he said. He revealed that they have started food distribution at Shalpoh, Chepkobhe and Endough ward, “We need ten thousand bags of maize every month.”

Kacheliba Member of Parliament Mark Lomunokol said food stocks in stores are finished and more than 90% of the animals from North Pokot have migrated to Uganda in search of water and pasture due to the drought that has hit the region. He added that over half of the entire population has run out of food stock and most people are surviving on one meal per day.

West Pokot National Drought Management Authority coordinator Mr. Gabriel Mbogho said the hunger situation in the County has reached an alert stage.

Mbogho further said that said the Authority is looking for resources to start water projects to do supplementary feeding so that animals still in the area don’t die.