Drought, insecurity unsettles residents of Kapetadie, Turkana

Drought in Kapetadie has left wild animals dead and residents without water. [Mike Ekutan, Standard]

A biting drought in the remote village of Kapetadie in Turkana West, along the border of Kenya and South Sudan, has left residents trekking for kilometres in search of water.

Residents who spoke to The Standard said the prolonged drought has forced women and children to trek for more than seven kilometres to the only water point where they get water for domestic and other uses.

Losuru Ekidor, 31, a resident, said the situation has been worsened by daily attacks by suspected Toposa militia from South Sudan, who also steal their livestock and drive them to their country.

“We share this borehole with our enemies, who forcefully come here and chase us in order to get water for their livestock. We always live in fear not knowing where to get help from,” said Ekidor.

“I lost my younger brother two months ago, he was killed by Toposa when he was looking after the livestock some two kilometres away from the borehole. We only pray to God to help us in this situation,” he added.

Kapetadie, which is in Nanam ward, is located 40 kilometres from Lokichoggio town and 250 kilometres from Lodwar town.

Esther Nabwel, 27, a mother of two, said they risk being attacked by bandits while walking long distances to fetch water from the borehole.

She explained that due to rampant attacks by the Toposa, several women in Kapetadie have been widowed and their children left fatherless after their husbands were killed by the attackers.

“We are living a miserable life here. We call on the government through president Uhuru Kenyatta to bring security officers to protect us," Nabwel appealed.

Residents of Kapedatie, Turkana West grapple with drought and attacks from neighbouring communities from South Sudan. [Mike Ekutan, Standard]

The Kapetadie borehole was drilled as part of a Corporate Social Responsibility project by an oil drilling company that was prospecting for oil in the area.

The county government later serviced the borehole and has been maintaining it after they purchased a generator to help pump the water for locals.

The borehole has attracted over 400 people who have settled in the area to access water and pasture for their livestock.

Despite this, the serious drought situation continues to ravage villages, leaving destruction in its wake. 

Residents said they discovered bones they suspect belonged to an elephant at a water pan where livestock and wild animals used to drink. The pan has since dried up.

Turkana County executive in charge of disaster management, Charles Lokioto, visited the area along with other county officials to assess the situation.

The drought situation in this area is wanting, and we have seen even wild animals are dying. This area has never experienced rains since July last year, causing this water pan to dry up,” confirmed Lokioto.

The county government has begun distributing relief food in the area to help alleviate the food shortage.

“As the government, we are distributing food to the residents, maize, beans, vegetable oil and also some fuel for borehole generator. We call on other stakeholders and well-wishers to come join us to help this population,” said Lokioto.

The residents who rely on livestock have been moving from one place to another in search of water and pasture for their animals.

The area which is remote lacks education and health facilities.

Ezra Lojerei, a village administrator Napopongoit village welcome a move by KDF to set up a camp in Napakin area to help fend off attacks from the neighbouring communities who are targeting their livestock.  

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