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Residents fearful over emerging cracks in Pokot Central

Hundreds of Cheptulel location residents in Pokot Central Sub County of West Pokot are living in fear following a huge fault-like crack that started emerging in the ground last Sunday.
The residents have been forced to migrate and live with their neighbours in different villages perceived to be safer after huge cracks cut through their houses.
Area chief James Lopeiyoi said 120 households have been affected with more than 400 people resorting to seek alternative residence in the neighbourhoods after fearing for their lives since the area is usually prone to landslides and mudslides.
Although some have stayed put, the chief said, “We keep on reminding them that it is a ticking time bomb that might explode any time.”
Lopeiyoi mentioned that those who have decided to stay behind live during the day but at night they don’t sleep in their houses.
He has called for intensive sensitisation on the importance of living on flat grounds which he described as safe since they are not prone to earth movements.

A section of the crack in Cheptulel Location. Photos By Richard Muhambe

The chief said they were expecting the Kenya Red Cross Society team to visit the area to ascertain the gravity of the danger and suggest possible contingency measures.
A number of those affected lamented how they were finding it elusive to live within that line of fire amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“We don’t know whether to pay attention to Covid-19 or the looming danger of an earth tremor. We are not settled in mind even if it is Christmas time,” said Pius Lokomol, a resident.
Lokomol said the place characterised by a medium slope has started developing numerous cracks passing through their houses which has covered an estimated area of 4km square.
“The situation has worsened since the cracks have been accompanied by rifts where the ground sinks one foot per day. This has added more agony to the already traumatised residents some of whom are victims of Chesegon mudslide which claimed over 20 lives,” he explained.
The traumitised residents have been forced to flee their homes saying they rarely sleep since they don’t know what might befall them during the night.
They expressed fears that if the rifts continue then chances of experiencing landslides are very high and prayed that it does not rain soon.
The affected families are appealing to both the national and the county government to deploy geologists in the area to advise on whether the area is safe for human habitation at this time of the threat.
Last year and part of this year, a deadly landslide occurred in some parts of Pokot Central sub county claiming tens of lives and destroying millions worth in property.

By Richard Muhambe

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