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Covid-19: Lamu uses Indian Ocean water for fumigation

Friday April 3 2020

Lamu

Boats sailing in the Indian Ocean waters in Lamu. The county is using saline water from the Indian Ocean to fumigate streets. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

KALUME KAZUNGU
By KALUME KAZUNGU
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The Lamu County government turned to ancient methods fighting coronavirus.

The county has been using saline water from the Indian Ocean to fumigate streets and all public places in a move aimed at fighting the virus.

On Wednesday and Thursday, a team from the Lamu County Disaster Response Unit was deployed to the Lamu Island streets, seafront, all the Jetty areas in Lamu Town and Mokowe as well as other public areas to undertake the fumigation exercise which shocked many locals.  

Lamu County Deputy Director of Administration, who also doubles as the County Disaster Response Team Leader Shee Kupi, said they had to undertake the exercise after getting an executive order from Governor Fahim Twaha.

FUMIGATION

Mr Kupi said they decided to use the sea water as a disinfectant before the required chemical fumigation.

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According to Mr Kupi, the first phase of the exercise which commenced in Lamu Old Town, would extend to other towns and islands across the Lamu Archipelago.

He said the exercise will be conducted weekly to combat coronavirus. Mr Kupi said the sea water has a natural anti-bacterial agent.

He said the exercise is meant to neutralise any possible infections on surfaces under sterilisation.

Lamu residents believe that saline water from the Indian Ocean can kill all manner of viruses, bacteria and treat many ailments.

Mr Kupi promised to ensure that every part of the county is covered before the national government releases chemicals for fumigation.

“We’ve decided to siphon water from the Indian Ocean using pipes powered by generators to spray all the public areas, streets and the buildings. The water is too salty and we believe will assist in disinfecting and even kill coronavirus. I know many are wondering why we are using the sea water while the rest of Kenya is using chemicals. We should understand that for ages, water from the Indian Ocean has been used by our forefathers to treat various ailments and viral infections. We also believe after this spraying, no virus including coronavirus can survive,” said Mr Kupi.

SEA WATER

He said: “The use of sea water is just the first phase. The department will still employ all other scientifically proven chemicals in the second phase as we fight this lethal virus.”

The exercise elicited mixed reactions from Lamu residents.

Mr Mohamed Ali lauded the county government for the efforts in ensuring Covid-19 is fought by all means.

Mr Ali, an elder in Lamu old town, said sea water has over the years been more effective than chemicals in killing bacteria.

 “I support the use of salt water to combat Covid-19. What they’ve done is exceptional. They’ve gone back to the old ways of doing things and it’s good. As Lamu people, we believe any virus cannot survive for long in a salty environment. Let them keep on,” said Mr Ali.

Mr Is’haq Khatib termed the use of salty water to fight coronavirus as the biggest joke ever since the pandemic struck Kenya and the world.

“What they’re showing is proof enough that Lamu isn’t prepared to handle Covid-19. There’re enough funds for disaster. Why are people so confused? Let them buy chemicals which are scientifically proven and fumigate our towns and streets like is being done in Mombasa, Nairobi and other counties,” said Mr Khatib.