Kenya Red Cross Society and the National Drought Management Authority have launched a programme to evaluate drought response in Kwale County.

This comes amid fears of prolonged hunger in the region after hundreds of acres of farmlands were ruined by torrential rains that have killed five people, destroyed homes and roads.

Experts have said massive crop destruction will aggravate food scarcity in the region where thousands of people have been relying on relief food from the government and humanitarian aid agencies.

Kenya Red Cross Society staff at a “Jaza Lorry” event organized to mobilize residents of famine-striken Kwale County to contribute relief supplies in aid of starving residents at Ukunda Show ground in Kwale County, last year.

The evaluation exercise that kicked off on Thursday will be carried out in areas that were severely hit by the drought with an aim of seeking feedback from locals on whether the two agencies had helped mitigate hunger in the county.

The exercise will among other things assess the effectiveness of a drought emergency appeal launched in November 2016 and run up to December 2017 by KRCS to assist counties that were affected by drought.

Kinango Sub-County which was one of the hardest hit by drought has been selected as the study area where a team comprising officials from the two agencies will get views from residents on whether the relief provided had helped mitigate hunger.

A distraught Kwale resident looks at the carcass of a cow at Mwaruwesa village, Samburu Ward, where famine has devastated both human and livestock population.

They will also engage agricultural stakeholders and local Chiefs for their opinion and recommendations on the same, according to KRCS monitoring and evaluation officer, Lydia Atiema.

Ms. Atiema said that they seek stakeholders’ responses on the drought mitigation activities they engaged in which include relief food distribution; cash transfer programs, de-stocking through livestock off-take program, water trucking and hygiene promotion activities. She added that the main aim of the evaluation was to find out from famine victims if they had added any value through the drought mitigation measures.

Ms. Atiema noted that it will also help them fill in the gaps that they were unable to address so that they can make improvements in the time left.

“Feedback from the locals will be helpful as it will enable us meet our target by correcting where we did not achieve the objective,” she said.

She urged locals to cooperate throughout the exercise saying it was important for them to get the feedback as it will help them in preparing for future interventions.