Water In The Lake Region Of Kenya
Water is a-must-use commodity.it is unfortunate that sometimes it is a great risk to the community in several ways,and has to be used in suspicion and fear.
Recently,i was at the Sori Lake Victoria beach,and looked at the way water was used with of concern and worry.Typhoid and amoeba are common sicknesses,espcially in areas where untreated water is used.Many die from these diseases,which are slow killers.
But the worst is now here in Nyanza Province,where we geographically are.There is an outbreak of cholera.So far,39 people have died from the disease,and more than 600 have been diagnosed with cholera.Unlike amoeba and typhoid,cholera claims lives for as short as 6 hours.The victims suffers intensive vomiting and continous diarrhea and if prompt medication is not given,the victim is dehydrated very fast and can easily die.
Cholera can be transmitted quite easily through food and drink.these must be handled with high hygenic conditions,or the risk becomes very high.The disease can easily be spread by flies sitting on food and drink and contaminated water.
At the Sori Beach,which i visited two weeks ago,i saw the possibility of a whole community dying.This situation does not only refer to Sori beach,but to thousands of other communities that use river or lake water for domestic purposes.
Women,who traditionally carry all the burden of ensuring cleanliness in the home,are here,and some have brought along children.They are bathing and swimming.Water for domestic is being fetched from the same shore.Animals are drinking water.All the kitchen ware,cutlery and crockery is being washed here.Clothes are washed here,and these could include bedding of victims of cholera!Children scoop water directly from the lake and drink.
What can be done so that this water can be done to convert this water into safe water for use?What can be done to bring safe water nearer to the people since some of them walk very many kilometers to get this water?
These remote communities need assistance.They need advice for making the water safe to drink,first,from the Governments and any other concerned organizations.
There are many organizations in this region that deal with water issues,and would appreciate any assistance that would lead to making water safer and accessible to women who trek great distances and consume time that would otherwise be used in other valuable projects in hunting for water.
*Karen Zwickert children's home is situated in Sori,Migori District,Nyanza Province.It is in the affected area.One hundred and twenty AIDS orphans live in this home.There is an appeal to any individuals or organizations who are willing,to help them purchase a generator so they can pump water and have it treated for safe use.This costs 40 000 Kenya Shillings,approximately 700 US Dollars.
Leah Auma Okeyo-Kenya.