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Date: 20 January 2017 02:21
Residents of West Pokot have appealed to the government to find alternative water sources for them as well as allocate enough funds for the purchase of relief food in order to cushion them from the harsh drought conditions.
Over 40,000 residents are in dire need of food and water.
Areas most hit by the drought include 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, one of the affected residents, said she wakes up at 4am and, with her child wrapped on her back, goes to scoop underground water from sand in Suam River which is 30 kilometres from her home.
“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 jerican of water on my head is no joke.
All we need are boreholes in our homesteads. Our children are suffering in schools,” said Mrs Moriang’ole.
“We want the government to move with speed and help us to sustain our livehoods due to the intensity of the drought in the region at the moment,” she said.
NOT EATEN FOR A WEEK
Mrs Elizabeth Kapello, a 65-yearold mother of five, said she has not eaten for a whole week.
When the Nation visited her home in Lokiteden Konyang Village in Riwo Ward, she looked weak and emaciated with tears flowing down her cheeks.
She has to use a walking stick to support herself as she is too frail to even stand on her own.
She told the Nation she has not taken water for three days as the important commodity has become scarce in the area.
Her neighbour, Mr Lokedi Lorieng, said his children had gone to the bush to look for food.
“We did not harvest anything and this has seen us go without food and as you can see this woman here is suffering a lot,” said Mr Lokedi.
Ombolion Location Chief Joseph Korkimul said the area has not received rains for a long time and expressed fears that residents are likely to lose more cattle if the situation does not improve.
LIVESTOCK TAKEN TO UGANDA
“We have lost a number of livestock and some residents have crossed over to Uganda in search of pasture. We fear that the animals that have been moved to Uganda may be infected with diseases,” said Korkimul.
Rivers Kanyangareng, Iyon, Kotoruk, Anuan, Kotupor, Lomut, Kaipony, Orwa, Tamugh, Kalaywa and Sarimach have already dried up.
The situation has seen the enrolment of children in schools drop by 85 per cent.
Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto said that schools in the area risk closure as the drought has paralysed learning.
“The situation is likely to affect education standards if the government fails to act with speed,” said Mr Moroto.
Deputy Governor Titus Lotee, who is in charge of the disaster (management) department in the county assured residents that both the regional and national governments have put in place measures to cushion residents from hunger.
“We fed locals from July to December last year. This time round we have put measures to deal with the long drought period. We will ensure that there is enough food,” he said.