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State and UN agencies warn of conflict over drought

More than 30,000 residents of Turkana West sub-county are facing acute water shortage. Conflicts between locals and refugees over scarce resources have threatened to get out of hand.PHOTO: COURTESY

Conflict may escalate in Turkana County due to drought, the Government and UN agencies have said.

More than 30,000 residents of Turkana West sub-county are facing acute water shortage. Conflicts between locals and refugees over scarce resources have threatened to get out of hand.

The drought has forced more than 20,000 pastoralists to migrate to neighbouring Uganda in search of water and pasture.

Scarce resources are a threat to more than 200,000 refugees in Kakuma refugee camp.

Turkana West Sub-County Commissioner Mohamed Hajji Dara said the drought had reached unprecedented levels, with both refugees and the host community scrambling for the fast diminishing resources.

"We have a serious water crisis in the region. Water holes have dried up and pasture depleted. Both locals and refugees are facing water crisis since the scarce resources have been overstretched by large population. We anticipate human conflicts over scarce resources in the region," he said.

The commissioner said River Tarach, which is a source of water for locals and refugees, had dried up.

"Both locals and refugees depend on the river as the only source of water in the region. But the water levels have gone down forcing people to dig shallow wells to extract the commodity," said the commissioner.

Yesterday, the Government and UN agencies convened a two-day crisis meeting in Kakuma to discuss how to address drought and human conflict.

Dara said the Government and UN agencies had agreed to come up with intervention measures to manage drought.

In West Pokot County, Sigor MP Philip Rotino asked the Government to set aside funds to buy emaciated animals from locals, who are incurring losses due to lack of pasture and water.

 

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