Scores Die Of Starvation In Northern Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya (PANA) - Scores of people have reportedly died of starvation in northern Kenya's Wajir district in the past four weeks, according to media reports Monday.
The famine in the desert wasteland district bordering Somalia has also wiped out hundreds of livestock on which the area's mainly pastoralist population depend for food.

Local administrators said at least 85 people had starved to death, and that starvation killed two or three people every week.

An International Red Cross and Red Crescent team arrived in Wajir town, the district headquarters, Friday to assess the situation and are due to give their findings this week.

The Daily Nation newspaper quoted Wajir's member of parliament, Adan Keynan, as saying that the death toll could be higher, adding that the community, majority of whom are Muslims, buried their dead the same day.

The newspaper said its reporters counted several freshly-dug graves which the local chief claimed were from famine victims.

Kenya News Agency also quoted Keynan as urging the government to declare Wajir district a disaster zone to enable donor agencies to launch emergency food supplies.

Wajir District Commissioner Fred Mutsami said it was difficult to give exact figures as the pastoralists kept moving from one place to another.

"I am aware that more than 57,000 people are in dire need of relief assistance. Government is also aware that the district is undergoing severe drought and there is also a severe depletion of pasture that has forced many pastoralists to move to neighbouring districts," he added.

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