Residents stare at death and diseases over lack of sewerage system in Kakamega town

Raw sewage from Kakamega town is flowing into nearby rivers, exposing locals to diseases.

The town, with a population of more than 80,000 people, does not have a proper sewerage system and has also been facing frequent water shortages.

Effluent from the Central Business District flows freely into rivers and springs untreated yet people downstream rely on the rivers to water their plants and animals and for domestic use.

Rivers affected include Masingo, Lwatingu and Masingo Springs. Surface run-off from the CBD during rainy seasons also mixes with raw sewage and flows to the rivers.

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Those who rely on piped water also face the risk of waterborne diseases as the effluent flows on top of the pipes, some of which are leaking.

Moreover, some owners of food eateries have erected structures near channels where raw sewage drains into rivers.

Residents of Masingo, Rosterman, Maraba, Amalemba, Lurambi, Murram, Jua Kali area behind Kakamega main market, Joyland and Shirere are the most affected.

Piped water from Kakamega Water and Sanitation Company (KAKWASCO) is unreliable, as taps are most of the time dry.

Data from health centres in the affected areas shows that most patients are treated of amoeba infections, typhoid, cholera, bilharzia, malaria and dysentery.

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Mary Kadogo, a mother of two from Jua Kali, yesterday said residents were always treated of waterborne diseases.

“Recently, there was an outbreak of cholera in Masingo and three people died after drinking contaminated water,” said Ms Kadogo.

She claimed more than 100 people were hospitalised.

“The county government only gave water treatment tablets to slum dwellers for a week and since then we haven’t seen them again,” said Kadogo.

Noel Meta, a businesswoman, said overflowing sewage has made Kakamega main market unhygienic.

Ms Meta said the county government had failed to address the crisis despite receiving numerous complaints.

Alloice Aoko, 43, who sells water in the CBD, called on the public health department, National Environment Management Authority and the departments of water and environment to act on the crisis.

Kakamega County Executive Committee Member Baraza Wangwe said the county government was putting in place measures to solve the problem.

Mr Wangwe said the small sewage treatment plant at Bukhulunya would be expanded.

“We have a court battle over the construction of the Maraba sewer and treatment plant after the locals stopped the work over claims they were not compensated. The court case stalled our operations and it’s not that we have ignored them,” said Wangwe.

Wangwe said he had instructed KAKWASCO to look into the sewer problem at Masingo and Jua Kali area and have it fixed as soon as possible.

“We have set aside Sh360 million to sort out the sewer and water shortage problem this financial year. Lake Victoria North Water Services Board and Rhino Arc organisation will also help us solve the issue,” said Wangwe.

He, however, denied that locals had died and others contracted diseases after consuming contaminated water.

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