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Spread of Covid-19 Looms in Migori As Taps Run Dry

One of the measures being put forward by World Health Organisation (WHO) to curb spread of Coronavirus is constant hand-washing, an intervention that is being compromised in Migori County following an acute waters shortage.
A spot-check by KNA across the vast county this week revealed that up to 60 percent of the local residents lack access to not only quality water but the commodity is even not enough to sufficiently match their daily domestic demands, a situation that is exposing the masses to high risk of contracting coronavirus.
The situation is more profound in Nyatike constituency despite sitting next to a large fresh-water mass, Lake Victoria.
“We are being told to wash our hands after every few minutes yet we do not have that water to adhere to the health officials’ advice,” said Mrs. Patricia Omullo when we visited her home in Kanyuor village in Nyatike sub-county.
True to her predicament over minimal water access to the local population, KNA confirmed that for a family of five people to get quality and enough water to satisfy their demands properly can cost up to five hundred shillings every day to buy it from the village venders.
“So telling these people to wash their hands now and then is a tall order to them since they view even bathing every day as a luxury life and a waste of the precious commodity,” said Mr. Maurice Ondigo, a civil society official.
Mr. Ondigo says many parts of Nyatike , from Macalder the headquarter of the sub county to Sori in Karungu, people still depend on water supplied from miles way on donkey backs and on bicycles to quench their thirst and do domestic chores at high costs.
The water situation is not better either in bigger towns like Migori, Awendo, Rongo and Isebnia where perennial water shortage is the order of the day.
In Migori town for example, even after the government directed for a smooth supply of water to consumers last week, residents still live with dry taps and are forced to source the commodity from venders who deliver their raw supplies from river Migori and the many boreholes around.
Last week the local emergency response team led by County Commissioner Joseph Rotich asked the local Kenya Power office to reconnect all water pumping plants to their grid so that the water companies can be able to supply water constantly to consumers.
To date nothing good has come out of the directive and residents of many estates and those in the town’s suburb are still lacking water for days making it difficult to adhere to the noble call on people to wash their hands often.
Migori, Awendo, Isebania and Rongo towns have benefited from the best and high-tech water treatment plants in the past few years yet all of them cannot distribute water to consumers throughout a week uninterrupted.
Residents have blamed corruption among the distributing water companies as the cause of the whole problems but officials, including Committee member in charge of the water docket Rebeca Ghati have blamed high electricity water tariffs and non-payments of water bills by consumers as the major cause.
By George Agimba

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