More than 500 families at Archer's Post in Samburu East are grappling with an acute water shortage following destruction of pipes supplying water to the town after River Ewaso Nyiro broke its banks about a month ago.
The shortage has disrupted services in local facilities among them hotels, bars and health centresm forcing residents to buy the commodity from vendors selling at exorbitant prices.
A 20-litre jerrican is currently being sold at Sh50 forcing the families to ration the basic commodity.
Ann Ekeno, a mother of three, spent the better part of Christmas Day washing her children’s clothes at the dirty river as she could not afford to buy water from vendors.
“It is unfortunate that we are celebrating Christmas without water and the local service provider has done nothing to repair the broken pipes despite complaints over the issue,” Ms Ekeno told the Nation at the river.
There are fears of an outbreak of waterborne diseases after more than five people were admitted to a local health facility with diarrhoea symptoms. An officer at the health centre, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the admissions but declined to divulge details.
Among the five admitted in the last three days is Ibrahim Ekidor’s friend who started having stomach upsets on Tuesday night.
“We fear that it could be cholera as the water being sold by vendors could be contaminated,” said Mr Ekidor.
The irate residents criticised Samburu Water and Sanitation Company (Sawasco) and the devolved government for failure to repair the pipes, saying that the situation continues to cause them great inconvenience.
Henry Ekwam said they have been paying Sh500 to the company on a monthly basis yet their calls to get the situation remedied have been ignored.
“We will boycott paying the levies if the situation is not instantly rectified. We are tired of waiting while we continue exposing our lives to the risk of water-borne diseases,” said Mr Ekwam expressing fears that children, while fetching water, may be attacked by crocodiles.
One of the locals told the Nation of plans by residents to convene a meeting to help reverse the situation.
The Nation team reached out to Sawasco Managing Director Mike Lesiamto and Samburu East administrator Andrew Lenanyekie but was unable to get their comments by the time of going to press.