....The past 4-5 months have been the worst in the history of Kilifi County. This has been attributed to the famine currently being experienced in some parts of the County due to failed rainfall that the county has experienced in the last seasons.
Close to 200,000 people in Magarini, Ganze and Kaloleni Sub Counties have been hit hard by famine. Thousands of residents in the county are now living in fear of losing their lives and their livestock after crops in their fields failed.
Reports from the grounds have also been worrying after water sources that were used to quench both human and animals thirst dried up. Rivers, dams and water pans have all dried up in parts of Magarini, Kaloleni and Ganze. This has brought about much media attention in the country which has seen countless stories on the current famine situation in Kilifi.
It is indeed saddening and heartbreaking to see families starving, children forced to drop out of school in search for food and water and many families losing large numbers of livestock.
Thousands of people have been forced to travel for miles in search of food and water for their own needs and also for their livestocks
The County Government of Kilifi through the department of disaster management had set aside Ksh. 84M in the disaster kitty to mitigate the hunger crisis experienced in parts of Ganze, Magarini and Kaloleni Sub Counties. However the money has since been exhausted and as a county we are seeking to raise Sh 300 million to help in alleviating and seize the current problem. The County has since taken steps to see that we mobilise resources and cut wastage by both the Executive arm and the County assembly. Already I have ordered the Executive arm of the county to slash the County hospitality budget and we believe through this initiative the county can be able to save sh 150M to combat this crisis.
The disaster management department which is spearheading the county feed relief programme has so far distributed 9136 bags of 90Kg of maize and beans to ravaged areas in Ganze and Magarini and in the coming days see the distribution of a further 350, 90Kg bags of maize and beans to residents of these areas.
In Ganze Sub County, food has been distributed in areas like Petanguo, Tsangalaweni, Palakumi, Migumomiri, Mrima wa Ndege and Mwahera. In Magarini Sub County, food donations have been done in Chakama, Kamale, Kathama, Bofu, Yedhi and Kadzandani. Other areas yet to receive donations are Maryango and Bandari in Bamba and Garashi and Hawe Wanje areas.
The county government has also commenced a school feeding program under the stewardship from the Department of Public Service and Disaster management that will see all students sitting for their KCPE and KCSE in Ganze and Magarini benefit during the exam period. Schools are expected to receive their relief food as of October 26, 2016. This program will benefit more than 8, 000 primary and secondary school pupils in these regions.
And to shield livestock farmers from losses due to death from their livestock, the County government has come up with a livestock off take program targeting 1400 animals. So far, the government has purchased more than in the first phase of the off take 570 programme to relieve farmers from losses due to the biting heat wave. The County Government has also received assistance from the European Union which committed Ksh. 10M to continue with the same program. This monies will be channeled also in the county livestock feeding programme targeting farmers who are reluctance to sell their animals in the off-take programme. The programme will see the county government purchase and distribute fodder to farmers with animals in hard hit areas of Bamba and Kaloleni.
The County government is also looking for long term solution for its residents. Through the county department of Agriculture has initiated up and running irrigation schemes that will serve to secure the county food resources. Projects such as the Zia Ra Wari irrigation scheme in Garashi Magarini County, Gandini, Dagamra, Kwa Ndezi all in Garashi ward, Burangi Irrigation Scheme in Magarini ward, Uhai Marikano and Mongotini schemes in Jilore ward, Kavunyalalo irrigation scheme in Kakuyuni ward, Mangudho scheme in Sokoke ward and Mdachi scheme in Jaribuni ward.
These schemes will help reduce our reliance on rain fed agriculture and propel Kilifi into a regional food hub able to feed its citizens and other neighbouring counties. The implementation of these schemes will also ensure the residents of Kilifi become self-sufficient in agricultural production and shrink any dependence on relief food. Plans are underway to expand these irrigation schemes an exercise that is set to kick off at the Burangi irrigation scheme.
The County Government has also come up with small holder irrigation schemes by distributing free water pumps and other irrigation kits. The program has benefitted over 250 households living along River Sabaki.
To address water shortage in the affected Sub Counties, the County Government through the department of water has set up over 80 water tracking points in the affected areas. These will be centred in strategic area including dispensaries, schools, town centers and health centers in all the 3 Sub Counties that have been hard hit. Water will also be supplied to the affected areas bv water bowsers that will serve the areas making atleast three 3 trips each day until the situation come back to normalcy.
The department has set up a number of water projects to address water shortage in this area. In Ganze Sub County, major water projects include the Mbonga–Ganze pipeline Extension Water project at a cost of Ksh. 34M and the Songea-Nyari Water Project at a cost of Ksh. 1M both being complete and operational. The county government has completed phase one (1) of the Ganze-Bamba rising main pipeline, with the second phase in its early stages and is set to be complete by December 2016.
In Magarini, the main water projects include the Kadzandani Boreholes at a cost of Ksh. 13M, the Kathama–Chakama pipeline Extension Water project at a cost of Ksh. 16M, construction of a 250m3 water tank at Kadzandani well field, Excavation of Kwa Mboya water pan at a cost of Ksh. 5M, construction of Faraji dam at a cost of Ksh. 11M and the 17Km pipeline extension from Kadzandani to Kamale at a cost of 40M.
The County Government through department is hastening the drilling of 9 new boreholes in hard hit areas where piped water might take a while to get there. These include Ndigiria, Gede, Shirango, Kabatheni, Bombi, Hawe Wanje, Matolani, Kanyumbuni and Shakahola.
Moreover, the department of water together with KIMAWASCO has also set up 16 stand pipes in Jila and Bamba which provide fresh tap water. Necessary arrangements have been done to erect storage tanks in all the 16 stand pipes. Plans are underway to have a toll-free hotline number where citizens will have a platform to air complaints in case of failed water pumping or pipe leakages. This project will replace the old and faulty pipeline and benefit over 80,000 residents of Ganze and Bamba. The challenge is now upon the Coast Water Services Board to stop rationing water in these affected areas so that our people have an uninterrupted flow of water.
As a county government, we are fully committed to ensure this crisis is curbed in the shortest time possible and see to it that the people of Ganze, Magarini and Kaloleni resume with their normal life routines and have aces to their basic human needs without stress or frustration.