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440,000 need food relief after rains fail

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By SAMMY LUTTA

More than 440,000 Turkana residents need relief food due to drought.

The dry spell has prompted some herdsmen to drive their livestock elsewhere in search of pasture and water.

Turkana county drought coordinator Julius Taigong said the short and long rains had failed.

In January, the county government, through its disaster management executive, Mr Charles Lokioto Ewoi, said that 440,845 residents were in dire need of food relief.

Since then, the national government and relief agencies had intervened and provided assistance.

Residents in most areas are still receiving food aid, according to Mr Taigong.

“The dry spell has frustrated the efforts of some residents, especially those who are into rain-fed farming. Most crops are wilting.”

Farmers in Turkana West sub-county who planted an improved sorghum variety on 2,000 hectares are staring at huge losses.

Sub-county agricultural officer Alphus Lusweti said farmers in Lokichoggio, Kakuma, Latea, Oropoi and Songot had expected to be cushioned by the crop.

“Farming in the area is entirely rain-fed since there is no permanent river,” said Mr Lusweti.

Kakuma division officer Samwel Osodo said after the county government made efforts to establish peace with neighbouring countries, Turkana pastoralists are moving to Uganda for pasture and water.

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Most of the herders are from Turkana West and Loima sub-counties. About 30,000 have crossed into Uganda with their livestock seeking pasture, said county deputy governor Peter Lokoel.

At the same time, Lodwar Town has been hit by a shortage of vegetables.

Mrs Norah Lobali, a vendor, said the shortage was a result of scanty rains in Trans Nzoia and Pokot counties, where they source farm produce.