The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has released Sh6.3 million for compensation to wildlife attack victims in Tharaka Nithi County.
The KWS Eastern Region Assistant Director Mungami Bakari Chongwa said the government released the amount to compensate one dead person and several others who were injured by wildlife over the period between 2013 and 2019.
Chongwa who was speaking during a County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) held in Chuka town further disclosed that the first phase of fencing the Meru National Park Southern Boundary to address human wildlife conflict is now complete.
The Assistant Director said the first 15km of the three phases that will cover a total of 53km has been completed at a cost of Sh27.7 million way above the estimated cost of Sh20million due to inflationary costs.
“The total cost of the 53km stretch was estimated at Sh98 million but due to inflation and other auxiliary factors could cost up to 108 million by the time of completion,” the Regional KWS Assistant boss further revealed.
He said the other two sections of the fence will be handled by external parties and have been advertised with the second phase construction materials to be provided by the KWS while the third phase will fully be undertaken by the party that wins the tender.
“In order to address the use of river resources by wildlife and humanity along the boundary the fence is being constructed in a zig-zag manner with 6.7 km of the fence lying within private land,” said Mr Chongwa.
He said as a corporate responsibility and as a way of promoting tourism through the Tharaka Nithi side of the Meru National Park, the KWS will upgrade the Ura-Gate to Gatunga road to bitumen standard.
Chairing the meeting the Tharaka Nithi County Commissioner (CC) Beverly Opwora hailed the members of the CDICC who include departmental heads and the representatives from the Tharaka Nithi County government for the multi-sectoral approach that has hastened the implementation of development projects in the county.
“The CDICC was the major force behind the operationalization of expensive medical equipment at the Chuka Referral Hospitals and many other medical facilities by ensuring they received the required electricity power to operate them,” said the CC.
She took the opportunity to remind the members present that government resources in all departments should be used to facilitate all other departments in the supervision and implementation of development projects in the county.
Representing the Tharaka Nithi County Government were the County Executive (CEC) Members for Roads, Infrastructure, Housing, Public Works, ICT & Energy Eng. Julius Kijiru Giti and his colleague for Lands, Physical Planning, Urban Development, Environment, Water, Irrigation & Natural Resources Jasper Mutegi Nkanya.
By David Mutwiri