By KAHONZI KALIWA
Responding to the Kenya’s emergency appeal to combat the COVID 19 pandemic, Australian mining firm, Base Titanium has flagged off 40 tonnes of Emergency Relief Food to sustain vulnerable families in Kwale County.
This is the second phase of food distribution to benefit 1,200 households from 25 villages in Msambweni Subcounty. The villages to receive foodstuffs are Vumbu, Magaoni, Zigira, Fahamuni, Majikuko, Ramisi, Milalani, Mivumoni, Kilole, Mkwambani, Kidzumbani, Fingirika, Mafisini among others.
In the first phase, Base Titanium (BT) donated more than 45 tonnes of food and non-food stuff to the County Government of Kwale as part of the Covid emergency response kitty to help vulnerable families affected by coronavirus disease.
Flagging off the relief food in Diani on May 14, 2020, BT community relations manager Pius Kassim says the company is targeting 8,000 households across Kwale and Likoni Subcounty of Mombasa to benefit close to 50,000 residents.
He was flanked by Msambweni deputy county commissioner Erick Wamulevu, the Red Cross Kwale branch chairman Ramadhan Bungale and Diani Municipality Manager Said Mwandaro.
Each households will receive a pre-package food hamper containing 12kgs maize flour, 4kgs of wheat flour, 7kgs beans, 5kgs rice, 2kgs sugar, 2 litres cooking oil, 500g salt, 250g tea leaves, 3 packets of sanitary pads and a bar of soap.
“In this second phase, we have earmarked villages around Msambweni Subcounty but this programme will be stretched to reach other parts of Kwale and also Likoni Subcounty in Mombasa where we have our port facility,” he adds.
According to the manager BT is out to partner with other stakeholders locally and nationally toward supporting vulnerable communities due to the global pandemic.
Mr Wamulevu wants others investors and humanitarian organisations to come forward and support the ongoing emergency measures to alleviate suffering of those who have lost their livelihoods through the collapse of tourism industry.
“The backbone of Diani economy revolves around the tourism sector either directly or indirectly. But due to COVID 19 pandemic globally it has gotten a heavy hit situating us to urgent need of assistance,” he says.
According to him most of those who depended on the hospitality industry are at home and have nothing to fend for themselves and any foodstuff relief will go a long way to alleviate their basic needs.
Because of the County’s borders of Mombasa in the north and Tanzania in the south, Mr Wamulevu, urges the Msambweni residents to be vigilant of people using routes to enter Kwale without undergoing coronavirus testing to ascertain their status.
The two border areas (Mombasa/Tanzania) have been experiencing growing numbers of COVID 19 cases and this puts the County under higher risks of getting infections from either sides.
“Our LungaLunga border point must be secured while our traders and fishermen operating there should be extra vigilant with whom they come into contact with lest they get infected,” he warns.
Mr Bungale pledged that Kenya Red Cross will map the vulnerable families to ensure only those needy people of the pandemic get relief assistance without discrimination in the County.
The Red Cross chairman wants the resident not to wait for relief food only but take advantage of the ongoing rains to at least plant food crops that will help them in the post-coronavirus days.
“We know we are facing trying times but this should not handicap us from our responsibilities of fending for ourselves in whichever way we can through our own initiatives,” he says.
Through its various community projects and livelihood programmes, Base Titanium has changed many a communities to start income-generating activities such as agricultural and animal husbandry projects.
The company has engaged a specialist Australian consultant to look into improving agricultural productivity and diversity in Kwale County through ‘business for development’ axiom.
Since the declaration of the first COVID 19 case in Kenya in March, BT has distributed not only foodstuff but also face masks, handwashing units across Kwale, infrared guns and other PPEs to help fight the spread of the novel corona v