More Kenyans face starvation Published on 09/02/2009 (The Standard) By Biketi Kikechi Ms Ethuuko Nangole, whose emaciated frame became the face of the famine ravaging Kenya , is still awaiting Government relief, nearly two weeks after The Standard highlighted her plight.The paltry two kilogrammes of maize flour received from the Turkana Central CDF committee three days after The Standard campaign was barely enough to take her family of eight through a day.Mr Lopongo Ebulon the head of the Nangole family said: "They came with two packets of flour, but that hardly lasted a day. We had to continue walking a long distance to get food for her and the children." Nangole was still hanging on to dear life when we returned to Kalotum village, 40km north of Lodwar town in Turkana, last week.A fortnight ago, Nangole elicited an outpouring of sympathy around the world when her story and those of other starving people in Turkana graced The Standard. Intermittent sobs could be heard from her shelter as her relative, Ebulon, went to receive The Standard team in their sun-drenched hamlet. "She is fine. The only problem is that she has no food, and that is why she is crying," said Ebulon. A few minutes later eyes drawn into her sockets and the outline of her jaw frame showing the strain on her face, Nangole was brought out and quickly gulped two packets of UHT milk we had brought. Her face brightened as she asked for another packet, which she drank through a straw to the last drop. Ethuko Nangole is carried by her grandson, Dominic Etabu. Showing some signs of recovery, Nangole summoned some strength and whispered: "Thank you for the food. God is good, may He bless you." She was even more grateful when we gave her a dozen packets of milk and six bales of maize flour to share with her family of four adults and four children. There is no water in the village and we also gave Nangole several bottles to quench her thirst. A few metres from her manyatta, we found Ms Ayipa Engor whose condition was just as grave as Nangoles.Lying on a goatskin spread on the ground, Engor said she had gone hungry for many days although she occasionally receives a meal from relatives and neighbours. We gave her a bale of maize flour as scores of hungry men, women and children waited outside to get a share of the maize flour."Im hungry. There is no food and I have a stomachache," said Engor, pointing at her flat stomach. The Standard team proceeded to distribute food worth Sh50,000 to the villagers.Each took home four packets of maize flour, as more people rushed to the homestead when word went round that food was being distributed. Kalokol Councillor Leah Ewon said relief food from international agencies and the Government hardly reaches the village. On our way back, we found starving men and elderly women at Kambi Maskini in Kalokol. Many could neither stand nor walk and needed support to receive food rations. "Mambo ya chakula ina shida. Hata sisi tuko na hiyo shida, lakini Mungu ndiye anasaidia," (Food is hard to come by. But God will help), said Mr Paul Edo. Keeping our shareOur journey to Turkana started on a high note. We left Eldoret town for the 500km journey at dawn, traversing through Pokot, Turkana South and arriving in Lodwar past midnight. We then drove to Kalokol to look for Nangole, where we spent four days interviewing the residents. They looked sad and helpless."We have been turned into beggars. We walk for long distances to beg for food to keep Nangole and the rest of the family alive," said Ebulon.Apart from Nangole, Ebulon has to fend for Lokiru, Lomuria and Nangoles sister, Ms Natukoi Nagoli.They live in an isolated manyatta about 100 metres away from the rest of the family in sandy plains interspersed with rocky patches and dry river cataracts. Ebulon politely requested us to allow her move Nangoles ration that we had donated into her shack before neighbours arrived."Let us keep our share before they come because they will take everything and we will not have anything to eat," she said.In Kalotum, residents said although their leaders know that the district had suffered drought since last year, they had abandoned them.We had a difficult time sharing out the 15 remaining bales of flour to the people of Kalotum who swarmed us after word of food distribution went round."We are so happy you have come back with food for us. We will have something to eat for the next few weeks as we pray for the rains to come," said Ebulon. During the four days we spent in Turkana, we visited starving families feeding on wild fruits and seeds from trees.We also distributed food to one of the largest camps where 15,000 starving people are crammed together because of insecurity.About 97 per cent of the population of the larger Turkana depends on relief food every year.The Government last supplied food in November last year, but about 4,000 bags that were to be taken to Turkana North are still in the stores at Lodwar because of lack of transport.