Kenyan Water Crisis
Residents of Pokot, Kenya have appealed to their government to find alternative water sources as well as to allocate enough funds for the purchase of relief food in order to protect them from the harsh drought conditions they are currently experiencing. Water over food is the biggest worry though, in many cases people have food (maize and beans) but no water to cook with.
As we speak over 40,000 residents are in dire need of food and water and that number continues to grow.
The area’s most hit by the drought include places such as Masol, Marich, Kacheliba, Kodich, Kangoletiang, Kiwawa, Turkwel, Chepkopegh, Nyangaita, Kasses, Konyao, Alale, Sarmach, Suam, Ombolion, Lonyangilem, Kapchok, Lomut, Sekerr, Kases, Lonyangelem, Takaywa, Tepericho, Seriacho and Sigor in north Pokot.
Mrs Monicah Moriang’ole, is one of the affected residents, she explains how she wakes up at 4am everyday and, with her child wrapped up on her back, goes to scoop underground water from the sand in the Suam River which is about 30 kilometres away from her home.
(Local collecting what water there is)
“I have been walking for five hours just to get here and get this water from the sand. I am weary after walking such a long distance with my child on the back. Carrying a 20-litre jerry can of water on my head is no joke.”
The video below which is a local news bulletin from the area shows you just what life is like for the locals.
NOT EATEN FOR A WEEK
Mrs Elizabeth Kapello, a 65-year old mother of five, said she has not eaten for a whole week and this is not an isolated incident by any means. Recently, she has to use a walking stick to support herself as she is too frail to even stand on her own. She has also not taken water for three days as the world’s most important commodity has now become so scarce in the area.
According to Rev. Maurice Muhatia Makumba (Bishop of Nakuru) some areas have not received sufficient rain since June 2016 which has led to an insufficient recharge of water levels and poor regeneration of pasture land. He has also expressed fears that residents are likely to lose more cattle if the situation does not improve. Locals depend on their livestock for food and income and in many cases are the only tangible assets these people have and once they begin to suffer then their pain and suffering is magnified. Another worry is that many will migrate away from the area and never return which will effect generations to come.
Wider issues with the recent drought have also begun to affect both education and politics.
The current situation has seen the enrolment of children in schools drop by up to 85 per cent in some areas. Children are now forced to look for water for their families instead of going to school. In many cases schools in some of the affected areas now risk closure as the drought has paralysed learning. This situation is likely to affect education standards going forward if the government fails to act now for these people.
(Child drinking contaminated water)
The drought has effected voter registration in recent months and this could have an adverse effect on upcoming elections.
(An example of livestock not surviving the drought)
The National Drought Management Authority in Baringo County have reported the following issues and consequences on the back of the recent drought;
- an increase of 25% in the malnutrition rates of children under the age of 5
- increased diseases through water contamination
- reduction in water volume capacity to under 25%
- increased migration of people and livestock
- outbreak of foot and mouth disease
- decreased milk production for every household
- drop in the price of livestock due to their body condition
“We all have a duty, every one of us, a duty to do our bit to help the needy.”
Aidan Corless was appointed Chairman of the Blackrock Mission Fund in 2014 and introduced a sponsorship program, whereby the emphasis of the fundraising would be to help educate the poor, by sending them to secondary school. The Mission Fund was established by the Blackrock College Past Pupils Union to provide financial support to the Spiritans missionary work. The Spiritans (Holy Ghost Fathers) provide direct assistance to the world’s poorest regions, where the level of poverty and living conditions are often unimaginable.