By LEONARD KULEI
Baringo County, Kenya: People affected by disasters in Baringo County will have to wait a little longer as the county government has no policy on disaster mitigation.
Governor Benjamin Cheboi has, however, pledged to help residents affected by massive flooding.
Speaking while touring Katuit Primary School in East Pokot, which was submerged by the rising levels of Lake Baringo, Cheboi said his government would donate a motor boat in a week’s time to help affected families access the mainland. He also said he would build temporary schools following submersion of other schools.
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The Standard on Saturday highlighted the plight of the school’s pupils, who have to paddle through waters infested with crocodiles daily to get to school. Jamlick Kipyego, a pupil, explained how he almost died recently when his rickety vessel capsized as he rowed away from a crocodile: “Had it not been for a man who heard my screams, I would have died”.
According to Brian Temonyang, Katuit head teacher, more than 100 pupils, most girls, have since quit school for fear of the daily journey through the risky waters.
The new Katuit Primary School, which has been moved to a fairly higher ground, was constructed after Kenya Red Cross Society donated eight tents early this year. The governor said although funds have been set aside to address the perennial flooding he has advised his budget committee to factor it in the coming financial year.
He, however, lauded residents for their commitment to setting up structures which are now used by pupils as classrooms.
“Education is a function of the central government and we are working with them to address your plight. I am impressed by the parents’ commitment to put up a temporary school. I am also going to look into this issue,” said Cheboi.
Cheboi also revealed that it was the first time he was visiting the area in which over 2,000 residents have fled their homes from April last year due to flooding. “I am impressed by the resilience of these residents even at the face of adversity of such magnitude,” said Cheboi.
Since August last year, an estimated 3,000 people were displaced by floods after the swelling of Lake Baringo. The flooding also destroyed over five primary schools in Marigat and Salabani locations. The Red Cross has however warned of a looming humanitarian crisis in the area.