BY PHILIP TIANDA
About 200 families in Namanga area have benefited from relief food from a charitable programme led by Moses Rianto, of Baptist Church.
Pastor Rianto is the church’s regional moderator and has been working to uplift the lives of the vulnerable people in the area and beyond.
The relief food — which will target 500,000 people in the interior parts of Namanga, Mile-Tisa and Olgulului — is one of the many efforts to combat the effects Covid-19 in the region by religious leaders.
The programme, which is being supported by different partners, well-wishers and organizations, was launched in early February as part of the intervention measures as the region battles the pandemic.
Namanga region is now leading in the number of Covid-19 cases in the county, most of them being from truck drivers tested at the Kenya-Tanzania border at Namanga.
According to Reverend Rianto, a huge number of Maasai families in the region cannot meet their basic needs after the government closed down all markets as one of the measures in the fights against the coronavirus pandemic.
“After the livestock markets were closed, people are now staving. Therefore, we call upon well-wishers and the government to act and save lives,” he said.
“We have identified a huge number of vulnerable households in need of support, but what we have is not enough. We have however picked about 1,000 households which are most desperately in need of food assistance and which we are targeting to feed in this programme,” said Rianto.
Another pastor, James Kilamoi, who was a participant in the food distribution event, said the Maasai people living in Namanga area face increased risks due to their proximity to the border post, where many coronavirus cases have been reported.
Kilamoi said more people are affected as they cannot access markets to trade with their livestock and other goods, saying the government should look for ways to feed the people.
The beneficiaries received flour, cooking oil, tea leaves, sugar, facemasks, and sanitizers and other washing agents.
Rianto said the programme has so far reached a number of vulnerable families in the region as it uses local authorities and church elders to identify the neediest families.
“We want to appreciate our supporting partners — who include Unite 4 Africa, PIPES and Unveiling glory. We thank them for this good gesture and call upon other organizations to emulate this example, as we also appreciate the government for its efforts in the fight against the pandemic.”