Fuel shortage hits Turkana amid Kainuk bridge troubles

Boda boda riders queue at petrol station in Lodwar on May 31, 2018. /HESBOUN ETYANG
Boda boda riders queue at petrol station in Lodwar on May 31, 2018. /HESBOUN ETYANG

A fuel shortage has hit Turkana and adjacent areas following the sorry state of Kainuk bridge.

The bridge, which links Kenya with South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia, has been rendered impassable by floodwaters.

Traders said they have not received fuel since Monday, a situation that has hurt transport and business operations.

Samuel Nanok, the county boda boda association chairman, said their source of livelihood is threatened by the shortage.

"Since Monday, trucks transporting petrol to Lodwar are still at Kainuk bridge. How can we survive without petrol?" .

The Kenya National Highways Authority has barred trucks weighing more than four tonnes from crossing over River Turkwel.

The highways authority, in a statement on Thursday, said works on a new bridge have begun and hopes to restore traffic flow as soon as possible.

"There will be interim structural intervention which will enable a significant increase in the weight of vehicles authorised to use the existence," David Muchilwa of the agency said.

The residents said they are forced to part with a lot of money since there is only one petrol station operating in Lodwar town.

A litre of super petrol trades at Sh120 per litre from the usual Sh102.

About seven trucks have been swept while attempting to cross the Kainuk bridge. Most of them were those ferrying goods from Kitale to Lodwar, Lokichogio, and South Sudan.


Trade CEC James Lokwale said: "The impassable Kainuk drift has led to scarcity food stuffs in Lodwar leading to a hike in prices of essential commodities like fuel, milk, sugar and vegetables."

He said as a result, perishable commodities like onions tomatoes have gone bad as they cannot get to the markets on time.

Turkana county commissioner Seif Matata said the bridge's construction will be fast-tracked following plans to transport crude oil from oil fields in the county.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to flag off trucks of oil from Lokichar to Mombasa on June 3.


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