Double pain for Mwariki residents as Lake Nakuru continues to ‘swallow’ them

Gilanis CSR at Barut

Over 300 families in Mwariki-Barut,Nakuru West subcounty are going through double pain after they were displaced by rising water from Lake Nakuru amidst COVID-19.

The families whose houses were swallowed by the water are now struggling to make ends meet as they recollect their lives.

On Wednesday the families narrated their painful experiences during a visit by members of the Rotary Club of Nakuru and Gilanis.

The affected locals say life has never been same.

Led by David Kahoro,they say the rising water from Lake Nakuru has affected 323 who had invested in the area.

Other 151 families have been displaced.

Kahoro adds that life has been turned upside down with many of them struggling to pay loans they had acquired to construct their investment infrastructure.

The dirty water mixed with sewage from washed away latrines also posing danger.

Despite the many challenges,the government has taken no effort to address the same with the county only having put in place a taskforce.

He says they have submitted their grievances to the national government but no response yet.

“We have written to Ministry of Devolution as well as Environment and county but we are yet to see action” he said.

Ms Lucy Muthoni-a resident says basic needs has been a challenge to many since the displacement.

She faults government for not acting despite making promises.

Similar sentiments echoed by Ms Anne Wanjiru who has been a resident since 1974.

Wanjiru says their hope is that the government will listen to their cry and to their aid adding that already three mothers have lost lives due to depression.

“We appeal to government to come to our aid.We are really suffering” said Wanjiru.

However,the visit by members of the Rotary Club of Nakuru and Gilanis gave the families some hope.

The group donated food hampers to 175 families to cushion them for one month.

Addressing media after handing over the donation,Gilanis Supermarket Chief Communication officer Fayaz Khan reiterated commitment towards supporting the families.

“We would like the situation to rectify itself but if it continues we shall go on with our support to the families”said Khan.

Job Okello from Rotary Club of Nakuru noting that the families in Mwariki-Barut are vulnerable as they are battling the displacement by water as well as COVID-19 pandemic effects.

While noting the challenges the families are facing,he called on government and well wishers to step in and aid the families with basic needs.

The families displaced by Lake water are really going through challenges from lack of shelter to food.We call for joint action so that we can reach to many families” said Okello.

Sentiments echoed by President Rotary Club of Nakuru Chris Gasperi.

He reiterated the club’s commitment towards vulnerable groups in society.

“The vulnerable communities need our support and we need to come together for such a task” said Gasperi.

It should be noted almost all the Lakes in Riftvalley Region have been rising causing destruction.

The phenomenon was last witnessed in Kenya in 1963.

Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna while on a visit to Lake Nakuru National Park two weeks ago attributed this to silting and heavy rainfall.

The government has continued to advise those living near the lakes to make their way to higher areas to avert disasters.

Fishing suspended in Barut as government moves to restore sanity

There was drama on the shores of Lake Nakuru in Barut, Nakuru West Sub County after police officers were forced to lob teargas to members of the public following conflict surrounding the management of the fishing activities in the area.

Police officers on the shores of Lake Nakuru in Barut.PHOTO/Manoti.

The police confiscated all the boats that were involved in fishing activities in the area and took them to Kaptembwa Police station.

According to sources, police were acting as per the order from above to confiscate all the boats until the conflict surrounding the fishing activities in the area is addressed.

Area Deputy County Commissioner Elmi Shaffie who visited the scene after the drama failed to comment anything over the same.

Locals have been engaging in fishing activities since the rainy season that occasioned by the swelling of the Lake Nakuru.

However, there has been conflict in terms of management of the fishing activity in the area with two faction groups accusing each other of invading the area.

The community members in Barut claim there has been a group of fishermen from Naivasha who are colluding with some individuals from the community to reap big from the fishing activities in the area.

The members who spoke to this writer on anonymity said the fishing activity in the area should first benefit the locals before anyone can step in.

They pointed an accusing finger to some individuals whom they termed fish brokers who are out to enrich themselves.

“We should be given first priority as locals in this area before brokers can come in” said one of the locals.

It will be recalled that on August 5, 2020 area MP Samuel Arama while in Parliament sought a Ministerial statement with an aim to ensure those who were affected by the flooding are compensated.

Arama while on the floor of the House was very categorical that the locals have gone through a lot of loss occasioned by the perennial flooding from Lake Nakuru.

He added that the locals under the Muungano wa Wana vijiji should be allowed to solely do fishing as is transforming their livelihoods.

“The government should look on how the residents in Nakuru West who were affected by the floods occasioned by Lake Nakuru are compensated” he said.

Human Rights Defenders led Simon Ole Nasieku have lauded MP Arama for stepping in to ensure the rights of the residents are protected.

Nasieku is optimistic that the issue surrounding the fishing activities in Barut-Mwariki will be resolved through dialogue among all leaders.

“We are optimistic that MP Arama will call all leaders from this area so that amicable solution is reached and business can go on” said Nasieku.


Residents of Mwariki living in fear after river Subuku burst its banks

Residents of Mwariki in Nakuru West Sub-County are counting loss after River Subuku burst its banks into their homes and land destroying crops.

The residents who are now a worried lot of impending disaster are calling on the government to step in and ensure the matter is addressed before a disaster strikes.

Addressing media in the area, the residents said the river is supposed to flow into Lake Nakuru but due to heavy rains experienced in the area, the river has diverted its course to residential homes destroying property.

George Kithumbe- a resident in the area called on the Kenya Wildlife Service to step in and ensure a tunnel is dug to direct the water to avert destruction in their homes.

“We are appealing to the KWS to ensure a tunnel is dug to control the flow of this water” he said.

Similar sentiments echoed by Joseph Mwangi who claimed the problem has been brought about by KWS who interfered with the course of the river in the name of blocking animals from exiting the park.

He called on the government to consider the impending disaster in the area and act to find a solution to the same.

“This problem has been brought about by KWS in the name of blocking the animals but this has had a negative impact on the river” he said.

Stephen Wahome a farmer in the area says he has incurred a loss of over Kshs.50, 000 in the farm after the water destroyed his crops among them sukuma wiki and potatoes which he had just planted two weeks ago.

His appeal is to the county government of Nakuru in collaboration with the KWS and the National government to intervene in the situation and save them from further loss.

“I have incurred a loss of Kshs.50, 000 and I am calling on government to come in and help avert further losses” he said.

PHOTO/Pristone Mambili:Effects felt in a farm bordering Lake Nakuru National Park in Mwariki after river Subuku burst its banks.

Lake Nakuru National Park, premier tourist site

Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru National Park is Nakuru’s premier attraction site. The 188KM2 UNESCO declared World Heritage site lies just 4 KM from Nakuru town and 164 KMs from Kenya’s capital city Nairobi

Lake Nakuru as a national park has been in existence since the 1950s but it was in 1968 that it was gazetted as a National park. Previously it had existed as a bird sanctuary from 1961 and as a conservancy in 1957.

Lake Nakuru National park is an electricity fenced park that lies around the shallow Lake Nakuru whose size fluctuates from between 5 to 45 KM2. The park was previously fenced using chain-link until 1986 when the electric fence was put up to keep poachers outside.

Activities at Lake Nakuru National Park

The expansive Lake Nakuru is a popular foreign and local tourist attraction site. The greatest attraction to the park remains the pink flamingos. Nakuru town is closely associated with the flamingo and many establishments here use the bird as their symbol including the county government of Nakuru. The official colour of Nakuru County is pink due to the pink coloured flamingos.

Activities at Lake Nakuru National Park involve game rides, bird watching, and hiking. There are also awesome picnicking and camping sites within the park. The Baboon cliff that offers visitors a stunning view of Lake Nakuru from the top is the most popular picnic site. Other picnic sites within the park are Lion Hills and Out of Africa viewpoint.

Lake Nakuru National Park also offers splendid photoshoot scenes and is also ideal for shooting films. The popular Hindi film, Vishawatma, has a scene that was shot here. The park is also used for team building activities in addition to accommodation in several hotels within.

Hotels Within Lake Nakuru National Park

The sprawling Lake Nakuru National Park has several Hotels situated within. The Flamingo Hill Camp, Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge, Lakira Camp and Sarova Lion Hill all serve guests within the park. Outside the park are also other hotels that serve visitors to the park.

Guests can also choose to camp at the Makalia Campsite 30 KM from the main gate. Makalia campsite lies near the scenic Makalia Falls which are another sight to behold.

Other campsites within the park include Nyuki Campsite, Njoro Campsite, Naishi and Nyati Campsite.

Animals at Lake Nakuru National Park

Apart from the millions of pink flamingos, Lake Nakuru National Park boasts a wide variety of birds and wild animals. Some of the birds a visitor can see here include but are not limited to; pelicans, ducks, avocets, terns, cormorants, grebes, stilts among other 300 plus species.

The most common animals found here are the baboons, zebras, buffaloes, impalas, rhinos and hyenas. Other animals that live here but are not easily seen are the giraffes, cheetahs, lions, warthogs and waterbucks. A variety of snakes are also to be found in the park with pythons being the most prevalent.

Accessing Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru National Park is open to the public daily between 7 AM and 6 PM. It is reachable through the Main Gate, Lanet Gate or the Nderit Gate. The park is also accessible via chartered aircraft that lands at the Naishi airstrip within the park.

The rates differ depending on age, citizenship and the number of visitors in a group. Kenyan Citizens pay the lowest fee with Kenyan children paying just about $2 and adult Kenyans paying slightly above $8. The rates can be found here.

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