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Sh6 million Kokwa Island’s floating bridge to ease students’ movement

Pupils of Kokwa Island Primary School in Lake Baringo who have been risking their lives crossing crocodile-infested water channels to reach school will, in two months, breathe a sigh of relief once a Sh6 million floating bridge is constructed.

Illchamus ward MCA Wesley Lekakimon said that the bridge design has already been drawn and construction work is set to commence in August.

Speaking during a public baraza held at the village grounds and presided over by County Commissioner Stephen Kutwa, the MCA assured parents that the inconvenience caused to the children after the former bridge collapsed following a sharp rise in lake water levels will soon be a thing of the past.

“Since the bridge is no longer in use, we must work on a way to save pupils and residents from crocodiles and hippos, which pose a risk to them,” the area MCA said.

Mr. Lekakimon urged parents to chip in and cost-share fuel with the school board of management for the school boat currently grounded in the meantime as a permanent solution is sought to the big challenge.

On healthcare, the MCA also promised to follow up with the county government to ensure a water ambulance and other boats are bought and stationed at the newly constructed health centre to provide quick transportation to seek specialised treatment outside the island.

“I am going to talk with the county government, especially now that the county assembly has approved the list of nominees for chief officer, so that another nurse is deployed to the only health facility serving a population of more than 2,300,” said Lekakimon MCA.

The head teacher of the primary school, Wesley Tulia, confirmed that the school boat was in good condition; only the fuel was a major problem, and he asked the MCA to consider assisting them to ensure constant access to the institution.

Tulia, who also appealed to the county government through the MCA for the recruitment of a coxswain for the school boat, called for the purchase of life jackets to guarantee the safety of the children while on the water.

“Our school boat has no insurance cover, a situation which poses a risk in case of any accident,” he added.

The residents, on the other hand, requested that the MCA to approach the county so that additional staff be posted to the health institution, saying the only one serving was overwhelmed with work.

The new health facility was constructed after the former was submerged by the waters of Lake Baringo, that rose to unprecedented levels due to the adverse effects of climate change.

They urged the government to establish one more sublocation and, subsequently, Kokwa Island location to be curved out from the current Salabani, which covers both the main and island.

“Bwana Commissioner, we need the administrative units since we are traveling to distant places to seek administrative services like registering for identity cards and birth certificates,” they implored.

Addressing the well-attended baraza, Mr Kutwa, who was on a familiarization inspection tour of the island, asked the residents to sit down with their leaders and write a proposal recommending the creation of the sublocation and location and forward it to his office.

Accompanied by the county security team, the county commissioner distributed relief food supplies comprising maize and rice to the needy households.

By Joshua Kibet

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