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Gov’t launches water trucking exercise

The national government has warned unscrupulous business people and individuals in Garissa against diverting water trucks meant for families hard hit by the current drought ravaging the county.

Speaking at the North Eastern regional commissioner’s offices in Garissa today when he launched the Sh500 million European Union-funded water trucking exercise for sub counties affected by the drought across the County, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said that the government will not allow any form of ‘monkey business in the important exercise’.

In the past, there have been reports from affected residents especially in far-flung areas that water trucks meant for them do not actually reach them. In most cases, the drivers collude with unscrupulous business people and individuals to divert the water to their homesteads.

This, Wamalwa said will not be allowed to happen as mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that residents and livestock in affected areas get the precious commodity.

“We have put in place mechanisms to ensure that the delivery and accountability of the water that is trucked to the communities is full proof. From now, henceforth community delivery forms are signed and filled by the communities. They are then retuned for accountability purposes. So we account for every drop of water that is trucked in different areas,” Wamalwa said.

He further disclosed that Government officials including sub county administrators, chiefs and the National Drought Management authority officials would coordinate the exercise and ensure that it is implemented smoothly.

The CS further disclosed that NDMA would closely work with the Kenya Red Cross to ensure that the trucked water are accompanied with animal feeds all geared towards ensuring that animals do not die.

Fafi MP Abdikarim Osman commended the national government for coming to the aid of the pastoralists saying that the body condition of the animals were deteriorating fast something he said would compromise their health.

He further said that even as help was being directed to families and livestock, schools should not be forgotten noting that many of them are at a risk of closure for lack of water.

“Schools need water to run because the children have to eat and the food must be cooked using water. They also require drinking water. So plans should also be put in place to ensure they are adequately supplied with water,” Osman said.

Yesterday, Wamalwa disclosed that at least 2 million Kenyans from ten counties have been badly hit by the current drought. He said the government with the help of other state and non-state actors were working round the clock to cushion the affected families.

There have been calls by leaders from Northern Kenya who have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare the current drought that is currently ravaging the region a national disaster.

However, in a quick rejoinder, Wamalwa said the situation is still at the alert stage and well under control.

By Jacob Songok

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