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Fear as rising Lake Turkana submerges all

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Fear as rising Lake Turkana submerges all by Kenyans247(1): Mon 02, November, 2020 03:37pm
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Lowarengak Beach Management Unit in Turkana North is submerged in the rising waters of Lake Turkana.


Peter Warutumo | Nation Media Group

By Jacob Walter
Nation Media Group

What you need to know:
The houses and business premises in the low lying areas have been severely affected, and some households displaced.
Mirikiye Lowa, 46, is one of the Layeni area residents whose huts was submerged by the rising waters.
A man tugs a boat to the shore of the greenish waters of Lake Turkana near Loiyangalani town in Marsabit County. He undresses and dives into the waters.

Fishermen on this part of the lake use spears or harpoons, fishing rods (made from the roots of an acacia with doumpalm fibre and a forged iron point or hook), nets made from doumpalm fibre to catch fish in this desert lake.

But while fishing is one of the economic mainstays of the Elmolo, one of Kenya’s tiniest tribes, it is the continued rising water levels in Lake Turkana that is giving locals trouble.

The houses and business premises in the low lying areas have been severely affected, and some households displaced.

In some areas, even infrastructure has been submerged and others made completely inaccessible.

Already, more than 70 graves at Leyani village have been submerged by water. Mr Paul Lekapana from the El Molo community and who is as an environmental expert warned that the impact of the continued rising water levels were likely to end up being catastrophic if a timely intervention was not deployed.


“This is a time bomb our people are sitting on here. Even the graves are also now lying in water and even the dead are not left to rest in peace,’’Mr Lekapan said.

Motorboats
He was saddened that the Komote village that initially was connected to El Molo Bay Primary School and a local dispensary was already cut off and residents had to use motorboats to cross the three kilometres stretch.

He expressed concerns over the fate of El Molo Bay Primary School whose three toilets have also been submerged thus exposing the learners to massive hygiene risks such as a cholera outbreak.

El Molo Bay Primary School headteacher Richard Lokok also expressed his fears over the dangers that were lurking as the water levels were anticipated to rise till February 2021.

He was scared that the whole school compound might end up being submerged thus completely decimating the only school that was the last hope for the El Molo community.

Mirikiye Lowa, 46, is one of the Layeni area residents whose huts was submerged by the rising waters.

He was forced to move and erect another hut only 20 Metres away and crossing his fingers that the water levels would not continue rising.

Striving for survival
Loiyangalani ward MCA Stephen Nakeno echoed the same sentiments of his residents: “The livelihoods of our people have been devastatingly disrupted and even young children are now forced to join their family members in striving for survival,’’Mr Nakeno said.

Mr Nakeno was unhappy that some children between the ages of 8-12 years were forced to fish for mudfish to sell between Sh200 and Sh300 to ensure they had food on the table.

He pointed out that the only fish cold room that was the safest store used by fishmongers along the Loiyangalani shorelines was already surrounded by water and was no longer in use.

Additionally, the multi-million shilling fish plant that was established in the same area with the help of the European Union and the county government was also stared imminently at the rapidly rising water levels.


He appealed for the well-wishers to intervene before the situation got worse.

Lake Turkana is 300km long and 50km wide, which also makes it the largest lake in Kenya. It is also the world's largest permanent desert lake.

jwalter@ke.nationmedia.com

https://nation.africa/kenya/counties/turkana/fear-as-rising-lake-turkana-submerges-all--2727566

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