Lamu flood victims puzzled as relief food brought by CS Wamalwa goes missing

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa distributes food aid to Lamu flood victims. PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: Hundreds of flood victims in Lamu are still grappling with hunger as bags of relief food that were recently distributed by Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa went missing shortly after.

Last week, the more than 3000 flood victims in the region received a total of 560 bags of rice from Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa over the weekend.

The food aid was distributed to villages worst hit by the floods including Chalaluma, Moa, Dide Waride and Witu town.

However, a week later, the flood victims say they have no idea where the bags of rice went immediately the CS boarded his chopper.

They have accused chiefs and their assistants of withholding the food aid with intent to sell or trade.

Speaking in their respective villages, the victims said the distribution of the food aid was shrouded in immense secrecy and deliberate laxity while majority continued to suffer.

The chiefs have also been put on the spot for favoritism in the distribution of the food since they are said to prefer other villages and not others.

The victims are now asking the CS to intervene and ensure each of the affected villages benefits from the food aid instead of leaving the mandate to the chiefs whom they termed as selfish.

Hussein Salim, a village elder in Chalaluma village said the chiefs openly denied a majority of them that food.

“In fact, we only saw a few bags which were given to their families and friends while the rest of us watched helplessly. We haven’t seen those bags of rice since the CS left and since we know the chiefs only too well, we know we wont unless of course someone intervenes and shames them.W e are really suffering.”  Said Hussein.

Boko village elder Joseph Kaingu said despite the fact that all the 300 villagers were directly affected by floods, no single person had received the food aid.

“We haven’t seen a single bag of food. We only saw them being offloaded when the CS was here but that was it. People’s homes and farms have been swept away. That food was our only hope as we don’t have anything else now. We need that food urgently,” said Kaingu.

Husna Yusuf, a mother of six from Dide Waride said mothers and young children were suffering the most from the lack of food.

“Mothers cant breastfeed without eating food. If that food the CS brought was meant for us, let him ensure it really does reach us, otherwise, he should know the corrupt are at work. He must do something,” said Husna.

In response to the allegations, Lamu deputy county commissioner Loius Rono denied the allegations that chiefs had hidden the food aid.

Rono said however the distribution of the food to some of the affected villages was delayed due to the ongoing rains coupled with immense flooding that had made them impassable and almost unreachable.

He said they will be forced to use choppers to distribute the food to some of the inaccessible villages since roads have been rendered impassable.