By KAHONZI KALIWA
Over 3,000 families in Kwale County and Likoni Sub-County will benefit from a sh80 million Emergency Relief Food Programme spearheaded by Australian Mining Firm Base Titanium.
This was revealed by the company’s community Relations manager Pius Kassim saying the third phase of the program will benefit families in Ukunda/Diani and Bongee/Gumbato areas.
Kassim says the programme targeted the jobless especially in hospitality industry during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The targeted group include; hotel staff, tour operators, bars and restaurants operators as well as Safari and curio sellers.” he revealed.
The manager further noted that the organisation would also donate food to fishermen in Gazi and Galu in Kinondo, boat operators across the Diani shores, commercial sex workers and massage therapy
Communities in Madongo, Fihoni and some villages in Muhaka areas will also be cushioned in the food program.
According to Kassim each household will receive 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 a two weeks package.
His sentiments were echoed by Msambweni deputy county commissioner (DCC) Erick Wamulevu.
The DCC revealed that most of the locals within the subcounty have been affected by the pandemic.
“The economy of this area depends entirely on tourism but since the closure of the hotels many people were rendered jobless. We are grateful for your initiative,” he noted
Ukunda Municipality Town Manager, Khamis Mwandaro said Tourism being the back bone of Ukunda/Diani had been hard hit with many workers had been laid off resulting from a mass closure of hotels.
“It has been tough for most people. Most of the hotels in Ukunda had shut down while others had cut their staff by half due to the Corona virus disease.” said Mr Mwandaro.
A beneficiary Adam Jirman an hotel attendant at Diani Chale restaurant said since the closure of the hotels he has been experiencing tough times.
He thanked both the national government and the company management for the food aid.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Base Titanium and the national government through the DCC for this initiative. Sincerely it was out of my expectations receiving such a package,” he stated.
This comes as Kwale county government is facing a crisis of supporting 67 per cent of her residents who are staring at starvation.
There has been a push and pull between the county government and county assembly over a supplementary budget of sh160 millions proposed by the executive which has so far not been resolved.