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Concerns Lakes Reclaims Arable Land

The government is awaiting the report of a taskforce that was appointed to establish the possible causes of the rising water levels in the Rift Valley with a view to implementing its recommendations.

Government Spokesman Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna revealed that the task force had already completed its report which will be made public before long.

The multi-agency task force, chaired by Environment PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo, constitutes of experts in natural resource management, climate change management, disaster management, geology, hydrology and social economy among others.

It was expected to undertake environmental scooping of the social and economic impacts of the rising water levels.

Col (Rtd) Oguna told journalists in Nakuru Friday that the rising water levels had collectively submerged 755 kms square of arable and riparian land and in the process, displaced thousands of people and caused damages running into millions of shillings.

            The spokesperson noted that while Lake Baringo covered an area of 152km in 2010, it currently covers an area of 286 km, an increase of 86% while Lake Magadi had registered the lowest increase after its waters expanded from 124 km in 2010 to the current 129, denoting a 4% increase.

            Col.(Rtd) Oguna noted that the rise, besides displacing thousands of families had also completely destroyed infrastructure in the affected areas while wildlife habitats had greatly diminished. This, he noted, was expected to increase the intensity of the human wildlife conflict in coming days.

            He revealed that at least 75,987 households were directly affected by the impact of the rising waters in the 10 lakes and the Turkwel dam while 61,723 hectares of agricultural land had been submerged.

            Two health facilities in Loboi and Kambi Samaki in Baringo County have been submerged totally denying the area residents critical health care services, while 14 primary and secondary schools in the same county are flooded.

            The spokesperson revealed that in this regard, the government had offered humanitarian assistance to the affected families who were provided with foodstuffs, iron sheets, tents and household items for temporally relief, as the state seeks donor support to undertake long term interventions.

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