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6 people die as drought and hunger hit Turkana

6 people die as drought and hunger hit Turkana

At least six people have been reported dead of hunger in Turkana as a result of prolonged drought.

Turkana administration says the drought situation is at an alarming stage in the county and has affected nearly 800,000 residents with the Global Acute Malnutrition rate rising to 34.8 per cent.

Despite the efforts of Turkana County led by Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai and humanitarian agencies to caution against the effects of drought and hunger, six cases of death have been reported.

Martin Lokeyen, assistant Chief of Turkwel Location in Loima Sub County said the ravaging hunger occasioned by famine has led to the death of six people in Muruese village, Loima Sub County.

He said children, women and the elderly are the most affected by drought and hunger bites.

“Recently, I was informed that people are dying. I heard people of Muruese have been ravaged by hunger and as a result, a woman died and his husband was about to die,” he said.

He said he decided to visit the families to establish whether people have been affected by hunger or diseases and he found out that indeed they have been ravaged by hunger.

Lokoyen said the drought is devastating and if he doesn’t give the information to the world, government and humanitarian agencies, no one would know their situation and people will continue to die.

He said the hunger death reported cases have been caused by the overdependence of residents on food aid from the government and humanitarian agencies unlike before when they used to grow their own food.

“Some years back, we have been getting support from the Turkana County Government through the ministry of Agriculture and Non-Governmental Organisation to grow crops along the river so that we can harvest food but for now the farms have been invaded by mathenge leaving residents to depend on food aid,” he said.

He said they have eight irrigation schemes but all of them have been invaded by mathenge trees making it hard to grow crops for food security.

He has called the government and other stakeholders to help the community clear the invasive mathenge tree and open up the blocked canals so that they can resume farm activities.

Lokeyen said the shrub is a nightmare to the community, apart from taking over farmlands, it causes the death of livestock due to eating its poisonous thorns.

He deplored mathenge has caused the reduction of pasture that is much needed by the pastoralists for their livestock.

He said residents have lost thousands of livestock and have now resorted to burning charcoal so that they can sell it to buy food for survival.

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