Saturday, 11 June 2011
BY HUSSEIN SALESA
Nine hundred primary and secondary school students at Isiolo Barracks face an acute water shortage after herds of elephants invaded the area and uprooted pipes and destroyed water tanks. The destruction is the latest in a series of incidents in which thirsty animals have moved into populated areas in search of water and pasture.
Head teacher David Muriungi said the elephants destroyed water pipes and water tanks and that the incidents are getting frequent. Students have been advised to carry water from their homes because whenever tanks are filled, thirsty elephants break the tanks. “We are appealing to the KWS to come and help us find a permanent solution to the problem. We want to live in peace with the animals, but cannot continue replacing the damaged tanks and water pipes after every dry season,” Muriungi said.
Elsewhere, three people were admitted to Merti health centre after they were attacked by a hyena. One of the victims, who had stopped to pray, had his right thumb bitten off and the other two were injured as they wrestled with the animal.
Merti ward councillor Halake Fayo, who accompanied the victims to hospital, said the number of human-wildlife conflict cases are on the rise. The pastoralists have complained about leopards killing their animals at watering points.
He appealed to the government to increase the frequency of the water tank service and raise the amounts of relief food distributed to hunger-stricken families in Merti and Bassa.
According to relief food agencies more than 250,000 people in northern Kenya are at risk of starvation. Women and children are the most affected.
The Kenya Red Cross regional co-ordinator Daniel Damocha warned the situation could get worse as many of the water pans, dams and shallow wells have dried up.