Kaya fungo residents turn to wild fruits, tubers as hunger sets in

no waterKavuka residents dig up a well at the Sombeza water pan in search of water on March 23rd.

As the pangs of hunger continue to bite the country, residents of Kaya fungo ward in Kaloleni have turned to wild fruits and tubers to avert hunger.

The ward is in dire need of food and water with an estimated 10, 000 people being in need of food aid. The residents mostly target wild fruits like the cactus fruits, Kuha and Mthunguru tubers. Trails of hunger and starvation can be traced in about 80% of the ward which recorded a total crop failure in the last two farming seasons. At Kavuka village which borders the Mariakani Kenya Army barracks, on Sunday, the Jumuiya.co.ke caught up with residents at the dried up Sombeza water pan trying to dig a well in search of water.

No fresh water


Bendera Tsuma from Tsangatsini village fetches dirty water from Mindoria water pan in the area on Sunday 23rd March. It is the only water pan which has water in the area. it is also drying up /MUSA JUMA

The area has no pipe water and residents rely on water pans which have all dried up. “Water in this area has dried up. Vegetation cover is also poor. We are forced to wake up at 4am every day to walk many kilometers in search of water. We normally return home by midday after trekking to the Barracks area to get water. By the time you are home the 20 litre jerican is like a mockery to the family because you will have to utilize it for all your domestic use,” said Esther Karisa, a resident of Kavuka village.

Some residents are forced to hire bodabodas to fetch water for them at Ksh 100 per 20 litres Jerican. Residents rearing livestock in the area are the hardest hit as they have to look for food and water for their own use and that for their livestock. “The land here is very dry. There is no water nor water. When our children come from school they get no food at home. We rummage all day looking for food. Our livestock has been affected too. The government should come to our aid because we sometimes go for days without food,” said Jumwa Baya. 

Water pan drying up

At Tsangatsini, about 10 KMs from Kavuka village, the situation is nothing better. The Mindoria water pan which serves the Tsangatsini town and the neighbouring Matsambo village is on the verge of drying up. Villagers have to compete with livestock as they both depend on the same water pan. Students from Tsangatsini secondary school also use the same muddy water for their use. “This is the only water pan around here that still has some water. The water is very dirty but we have no option but to consume it. We sometimes use ash to purify it. The remaining water here will not take us two weeks because a large population depends on this water pan and we have to compete with our animals. We have very few options here as the other water pans are far from this area,” said Bendera Tsuma.

Leaders

Kaya fungo MCA Alphonse Mwayaa called for immediate intervention to mitigate the hunger situation in the area. Mwayaa expressed fears that livestock and human lives could be lost if no immediate action to arrest the situation is not taken. “The government most of the times focuses on Ganze but Kaloleni is in dire need of food aid. The lives of these people is at risk because they take any fruit they find in the forest. If they don’t fall ill they take the fruits to their families to consume. This is dangerous as the fruits could be poisonous,” said Mwayaa Mwayaa said livestock has started to deteriorate.

Statistics from the National drought Management Authority indicated that 360 000 people from Kilifi county are facing hunger.

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