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Concern as long distance trucks congest urban centres along the Eldoret –Malaba highway

The  Uasin Gishu County Commissioner (CC), Abdirisak Jaldesa has said there is a need to decongest centres where Truck drivers park their vehicles in Uasin Gishu County to avoid the risk of COVID -19 spreading.

The CC  singled out Cheptiret, Mail Tisa and Jua Kali centers where the long-distance truck drivers stopover for a night as dangerous hotspots that the Coronavirus is likely to spread fast because the truck drivers freely interact with the residents.

Following the closing of Salgaa as a stopover recently and the congestion experienced at the Malaba border, the number of lorries parking at Jua Kali in Turbo Sub County more than tripled raising concern that the disease may spread in case any of the truck drivers was infected by the virus.

The Turbo sub-county Deputy County Commissioner, Mohammed Mwabudzo said the county should consider reopening Salgaa for the trucks to park to contain the situation at Jua Kali, “we are really apprehensive with the more than 300 trucks parked at Jua Kali, the county parking yet is full forcing the truckers to park their vehicles at the roadsides posing not only danger to other motorists but high risk of Covid-19 spreading”.

However, Jaldesa said the government was working with the County government on the possibility of temporarily opening the expansive holding parking lot that can accommodate a large number of trucks as they await clearance at the Busia border for smooth flow of traffic.

At the same time, the Uasin Gishu Governor, Jackson Mandago has urged truck drivers not to visit their families during the Covid-19 pandemic to avoid the risk of infecting their loved ones.

Mandago said asking the drivers not to visit was not meant to stigmatize truckers, saying they were high-risk groups as they travel a lot across towns in the region hence the fear that they can easily pass the disease to the family and the local population.

Mandago said Uasin Gishu has reasons to be concerned about the spread of coronavirus, “we are in the regional transport corridor with hundreds of vehicular traffic from across the East African region”.

Addressing the press in his Eldoret, Mandago and the CC lauded the residents for continuing to observe personal hygiene and social distancing as well as other health regulations to keep the disease at bay.

At the same time, Jaldesa said the National government was committed to helping people who live in the informal settlements adding that Sh.250m had been dispatched to vulnerable families to enable them to buy food during these tough times.

He said they have identified vulnerable families in Huruma, Munyaka and Kambi Kuku hard hit by the effects of Covid-19 measures for support.

By  Kiptanui Cherono

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