Over 39,800 children under five years and about 5,500 pregnant and lactating mothers are malnourished in Garrisa County.
Of these, only 23,500 children and 3,900 mothers are in the food programme by the government and humanitarian partners.
In addition, so far, four children have died since January due to malnutrition-related complications in the county.
This was said by Garissa County Nutrition coordinator Shamhat Yussuf, adding that drought in the county is dire and could worsen if the weather forecast is anything to go by.
Speaking to journalists, area resident Zainab Mohammed said many families can’t afford balanced diet thus leading to malnutrition.
‘Children are only eating one type of food, as we don’t have the purchasing power to buy other varieties leaving children with malnourished,’ Zainab said
She continued to say drought has caused death of almost all animals which they rely on for milk as a source of calcium.
‘There is no food and the one available is expensive.The animals we had have also died leaving many families in abject poverty,’ she said
Shamhat Yussuf said the biggest challenges they facing is tracing those who are already in the programme as they keep on moving with their animals to look for pasture and water.
Further, she said, lactating mothers who are malnourished have a negative impact on their children.
The officer said the county, with support from partners, has increased screening and identification of malnourished children by doubling outreaches to villages in the interior.
Humanitarian organizations and partners in a programme dubbed ‘Partnership for Resilience and Economic Growth’ that brings together all USAID-funded projects, partners working in various sectors on drought intervention have come together to complement the government’s efforts.