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Baringo hit by severe water, food shortage

Judith Kemei @PeopleDailyKe

Thousands of families and approximately 10,000 livestock face serious shortage of water and pasture as drought ravages some parts of Baringo county. Due to the current situation, most schools risk closure after seasonal streams that they rely on for water supply dried up.

They are now forced to dig burrow-like wells on dry riverbeds. Florence Lomariwo, a teacher at Chemolingot Primary School, said pupils drink water affected by blue–green algae and she fears that they may contract diseases.

“Livestock and wild animals also drink water from the well and it’s very risky,” said Lomariwo. According to her, water scarcity has forced most schools to suspend lessons until 11am to allow pupils trek for long distances to fetch for the basic commodity in the morning.

“Most of the school-going children skip lessons as they spend time in search of the precious commodity,” she said. She said the worst affected are nursery school children and urged the county government to supply water in the area.

Silale Ward Member of County Assembly (MCA) Nelson Lotela said more than 10 schools in Tiaty constituency face closure because of water scarcity. They are Nakoko, Riongo, Toplain, Akwichatis and Nasorot and Chemolingot.

Kolowa Ward MCA Solomon Makal, more than 2,000 people have crossed over from Marakwet to Baringo county because of the tension in the volatile region. This, he said, has worsened the already severe situation.

According to the residents, some water points dried up three months ago.The boreholes at Chesakam and Natan developed mechanical problems about a year ago and locals have been relying on rivers such as Lieulieu, Chesitet, Chesakam and Cheptunoyo.

According to resident Michael Laban, they are forced to excavate river Chesakam to access water for livestock and domestic use. “Residents are forced to travel for more than 10 kilometres to Nginyang and Kapedo rivers respectively in search of the scarce commodity,” he said. Most of the families in the area have already migrated with livestock in search of pasture and water.

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