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IDPs fear disease outbreak after floods wash away toilets

By Sarah Otieno | Published Tue, August 1st 2017 at 00:00, Updated July 31st 2017 at 22:35 GMT +3

About 700 displaced people at Eldume camp have expressed fears that there could be a disease outbreak after heavy rains washed away their toilets.

They said the Sunday night downpour also destroyed their property, including their tents. 

The chairman of the camp, Joaness Oluchurai, said: "The rain was very heavy. When we woke up, all the three temporary toilets had been destroyed and human waste was flowing all over the place. We fear this may lead to an outbreak of waterborne diseases."

The IDPs were displaced from Mukutani due to attacks earlier this year.

The surface runoff has mixed with the waste and is likely to flow into water sources, including rivers.

"We fear that there could be an outbreak of diseases such as cholera which has been reported in several parts of the country," said Kasaru Keriambu, a mother of five.

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Early this year, more than 200 cases of diarrhoea were reported at the camp, with children below the age of three and the elderly being the most affected.

However, farmers in the parts of the county that had been hit by drought are celebrating.

Most of them have started planting at the onset of the rains a week ago. The drought saw crops fail and thousands of livestock die due to lack of pasture and water.

John Ruto who owns 15 acres in Kapsibeiwo, Baringo North, is optimistic that he would get better yields from his maize and bean crops. He is also happy he can get fodder for his livestock.

"The last time I had crops in my farm was last year in September. The crops, however, did not do well due to lack of rain," said Ruto.

Willian Kimaiyo, who owns 300 head of cattle, said he is planting grass to feed his livestock.

"I have decided to plant grass to ensure my cattle are safe during the dry season. I will store enough pasture for my animals. I am planting an improved type of grass that takes a shorter time to mature.

"I bought the seeds that grow fast, which is an advantage to us because of the unpredictable weather patterns," said Kimaiyo.

Early this year, farmers in Tiaty and Baringo North constituencies incurred massive losses when thousands of animals died due to drought.

Received rains

The two areas have not received rain since August last year and animals have continued to die due to lack of water and pasture.

It is estimated that more than 3,000 head of cattle died due to the prolonged drought.

The farmers are also planting vegetables including kale and cabbage.

At the Eldume camp, the IDPs have asked health officials to step in to forestall a possible disease outbreak.

About 400 cases of cholera have been reported across the country.