Kenya: death toll rises as drought worsens

The drought and famine affecting millions of people in Kenya continues to worsen and is taking lives of people and livestock.

The crisis has also led to inter-ethnic violence over scarce water and pasture among some pastoral communities. Last Tuesday, at least 30 people were massacred in a confrontation between the Pokot and Samburu in the northern Diocese of Maralal. Several other people, including children, were seriously wounded and are hospitalized.

The government is buying livestock from herding communities but some of the animals are too weak to make the long journey to the Kenya Meat Commission slaughterhouses near Nairobi.

A Catholic missionary working in Maralal appealed for food aid from the government and humanitarian organizations to feed famine-stricken people in the arid area.

Yarumal Missionary Fr Vitner Vidal Marting,  of Barsaloi Parish,  told CISA that two boys had died of hunger in one of his sub-parishes.

Fr Marting said the situation is desperate and insecurity has increased because of the shortages. “As we speak, people are walking long distances begging for food and water in parishes,” he said.

Barsaloi Parish is trying to give food to pregnant women, children and the poor. “Even what we give is not enough and our food reserves are nearly empty.”

He expressed sadness that the parish is sometimes forced to send hungry people away empty-handed. People and animals are competing for the same water points.

“Migration of people to search for food, water and pasture for their animals is also causing a lot of conflicts among the Samburu, Pokot and Turkana communities,” Fr Marting said.

The people get little help from the government, which gave only 12 bags of maize three weeks ago.

The UN World Food Programme which had promised to give food every week has not done so and people are waiting.

Source: CISA

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