It’s just past 3pm and Nyangolei Lokedingole, 75, is staring desperately at the diminishing Lodengo water pan. He’s weak, his eyes are watery.
“I have not eaten since last night. I might die if this water pan dries up,” he told the Star on Thursday.
Lokedingole says because of his age he can no longer walk long distances to fetch water for domestic use and water his few remaining livestock. He stays alone in his thatched manyatta.
A small boy, Lopenyo Limakow, is also thirsty and hungry. His parents had sent him to water their 11 goats. He found many people and livestock in the muddy pan.
Herder Lopusikow Kedimuk is also anxious. He does not know what will happen to his animals once the water dries up.
Cracks have formed around the muddy Lodengo water pan, indicating an impending water crisis.The pan is in Kolowa ward, Baringo county. More than 30,000 residents in the area face starvation.
The nearest water pans are Chepelion, Tukomoi, Pkurlul and Totum — 10km away.
Lodengo pan was sunk by the county government and it serves more than 10,000 residents. Its walls collapsed last year. “There was a promise to repair it, but nothing has been done,” Kolowa MCA Solomon Makal said.
Last week Water CS Simon Chelugui announced that the drought might persist until April.
About 70 per cent of Baringo is arid and semi-arid. The area is inhabited by the Tugen, Pokot and Ilchamus pastoral communities in Baringo North, Tiaty and Baringo South subcounties.
Schools to shut
Children are no longer going to school as they assist their parents to fetch water and harvest wild fruits.
At AIC Lodengo Primary School, the taps are dry. Head teacher Joshua Kangogo said they plan to close the school next week for lack of water.
“I fear my pupils might contract waterborne diseases if they continue drinking and eating food cooked with the dirty water fetched from the muddy pan,” he said.
At Riongo Primary School, head teacher Collins Kases said the majority of the pupils have dropped out to help their parents look for water and pasture.
Other schools facing closure in Tiaty are Cheptaran, Nalikat, Naudo, Cheptunoiyo, Natan Orision, Nasorot, Akule, Toplen, Silale, Napeikore, Nalekat, Napukut, Kitailem, Cheptamas, Kangoria, Nakoko, Cheptunoyo and Chemukutan.
Others in Baringo North are Torolokwonin, Kipchar, Oinobkoloswo, Kaptigit, Chesangich, Kapero, Kuikui, Ayatya, Torolokwonin, Barwessa, Marigut, Kinyach Ngaratuko, Chemoe, Yatya, Tuluk, Kagir, Loruk, Chepkesin, Kapturo, Toboroi, Barsuswo and Lokorotabim.
In Baringo South the worst-hit are Ramacha, Karma, Katilimwo, Kapndsum, Chemorongion, Embosos, Arabal, Chebinyiny, Sosionte, Nyimbei, Kasiela, Keon, Tuiyotich, Rugus, Noosukro and Sirata.
Nurse Clara Lutow says she gives drugs to patients without the dirty water water. The patients use their saliva to swallow drugs. “There has been an upsurge of diarrhoea since last week. I have no way of getting clean water to patients,” Lutow said.
In Tirioko ward, more than 5,000 residents have migrated with their livestock and children in search of water and pasture. MCA Sam Lokales says the worst-affected areas are Ngoron, Lokis, Akoret and Tiririoko.
Geothermal Development Company North Rift regional manager John Lagat said they are drilling 20 wells in Tiaty. The drilling started last year in December in Paka Hills.
He said 10,000 households in Paka, Silale, Akwichatis and Korossi have benefitted from the project.
Lagat urged the national and county governments to look for water bowsers and help residents.
Governor Stanley Kiptis has promised to dispatch water bowsers and allocate funds to repair the broken boreholes and dams.