The current drought and starvation that has hit almost every part of the country is something that if not properly and timely mitigated, can lead to loss of thousands of lives.
It breaks my heart whenever I watch or view images of heart wrenching images of people and animals struggling to survive after spending months without neither food nor water. For those who have never spent a day without a meal (not by choice), might not understand what it feels to spend days, weeks or even months without having something for the stomach.
Whenever hunger strikes, children and women are the most affected. They have to trek miles away in search of food and water. Sometimes, the journey becomes tough and unfortunately lose battle to the adverse effects of starvation.
Watching people from Turkana, Samburu and other drought hit regions struggling to obtain water from already dry swamps and rivers leaves me wondering about how the situation will be in the next three or so months.
The water they are lucky to get for drinking is not fit for not only human, but also animals’ consumption. This exposes them to more serious health problems that could easily cut short their dreams of seeing another day. Remember, death by starvation is slow.
School going children are no longer in school just because they have to join the rest of the family members in the search for water and food. Theirs is a story of broken hopes and shuttered dreams. Their lives now depend on the muddy water and wild fruits that they are struggling hard to get.
Government has said that it has already spent more than 800 million shillings to supply relief food to deserving Kenyans. The truth of the matter is that, there is still a lot to be done. There is a Zimbabwean proverb that says, “You cannot tell a hungry child that you gave him food yesterday.” People are still being threatened by hunger, innocent children are still dying. There must be solution to this challenge.
Even as we head to the August 8 general election, as we tell people to vote wisely and maintain peace, let us not forget that a peaceful world cannot be created on empty stomachs and human misery. We must fill stomachs first to have a peaceful nation.
Kenya is a very beautiful nation with limited, but enough resources for everyone. As a country, what we have been unable to do mobilizing the available resources for the benefit of everyone. Last year, the country experienced more than four months of heavy rains.
Everybody witnessed floods sweeping through major towns including Nairobi. Even in Turkana where heavy rains are experienced once in a blue moon, massive flooding occurred. We watched as the runoffs destroyed our houses, business premises, roads, schools and other facilities and forgot to take advantage by conserving the water for future use.
It is very shameful that today, a few months after the heavy rains, there are people dying of starvation. What if we tapped the runoff and used it to irrigate our lands? Why do we have to wait until people die to realize that we can do something to safe lives? These questions among others can only be answered by people on their proper senses. We have to wake up and start facing the reality.
As a country, we have to start thinking about the future. It is very shameful that more than fifty years of independence, there are people whose lives are being threatened by hunger and starvation. We have to come up with alternative solutions to curb this nightmare; or we sit, relax and watch as innocent people lose lives to starvation.
Before I sign out, I wish to echo the wise words by Frances Moore, “Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but by a scarcity of democracy.”