West Pokot thousands in dire need of food as FAO donates animal feeds

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West Pokot Governor Lonyangapuo flagging off livestock feeds
West Pokot Governor Lonyangapuo flagging off livestock feeds

Thousands of residents in West Pokot County are in dire need of food following prolonged drought that has hit the area in the past three months as leaders call for humanitarian aid.

The entire population in the County is facing starvation after the region experienced total crop failure during the previous planting season.

Over 90% animals from North Pokot County have migrated to the neighboring Country Uganda in search of pasture and water due to drought that has hit the region.

Speaking  in  Kapenguria while flagging off 4000 bags of emergency  livestock  feeds (Range cubes)  courtesy of  Food Agricultural organization (FAO) as a response to  areas hardly hit by drought, area Governor John Lonyangapuo  said that more than 180,000 people and 1000 households in the county  need  food.

Livestock feeds
Livestock feeds

The program will benefit 1,200 households in North Pokot and Central Pokot sub Counties that are badly hit by food shortages.

Prof Lonyangapuo said the vaccination and range cubes cost 12 million shillings.

The County boss said that 64,590 goats and 14,000 sheep and 6,111 cattle were vaccinated under the same programme.

“Ten wards are most affected with food shortage and livestock lack food,”said Prof Lonyangapuo.

He explained that over half of the entire population has run out of food stock and most people are surviving on one meal per day.

“Residents of Kacheliba are now staring at danger of starvation in the next few months,”he said.

Prof Lonyangapuo called on residents to plant maize and shun those misleading them not to plant the crop.

“There is a need to set up Irrigation scheme to curb food shortages. We don’t want to rely on relief food. People should plant in their farms because the county government has given out free maize seeds for planting. Buy a  jembe  and panga  and work in the farm,’said Prof Lonyangapuo.

West Pokot National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) coordinator Mike Kimithi said the hunger situation in the county is still in normal stage and there is no call for alarm.

“We have programs to cushion the vulnerable people like the aged and those living with HIV .There are also those people that are chronically food insecure. The factors driving food security are now not bad,”he said.

He said that drought affected the area in June and July this year and now things are changing.

Mr. Kimithi further said that the authority is looking for resources to start water projects to do supplementary feeding so animals which have not migrated don’t die.

County Agriculture and Pastoral economy CEC Mr. Geoffrey Lipale said they have conducted an assessment in the whole County and 80% of the County is affected by food shortage.

“Most affected areas are Riwo, Kacheliba in Pokot North and Masol, Turkwel area and lower Sook   in Central Pokot sub counties. We ask the national government to cheap out to save the situation. We can’t wait till people die ”he said.