Water scarcity is something familiar to the African region. Many African countries lack access to clean water at their disposal. It is well-researched that 1 in 3 Africans face water scarcity. 400 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to clean drinking water.
Kenya is on the East African coast, yet it is facing one of the worst droughts of its time. Wajir county borders the Indian Ocean. Thus, the people of the Wajir Region struggle to survive without access to clean water.
Lack of water scarcity affecting people in Kenya:
The water scarcity issue in Kenya is reaching critical levels, posing a severe threat to the well-being of its approximately 40 million inhabitants. Nearly half of the population lacks access to clean and safe drinking water, This disparity has resulted in a grim reality where although water sources exist, they are often contaminated, and the means to purify this water are beyond the reach of many Kenyans. This crisis has forced a significant portion of the population to resort to consuming polluted water sources, with dire consequences for their health. Diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and severe dehydration from diarrhea have seen a surge in cases. The very lives and well-being of the people are now perilously compromised, as access to clean water, a fundamental human right, remains elusive for many.
Climate change is exacerbating the dire water crisis situation in Kenya. The country is currently grappling with a severe drought, which is a shocking 30% reduction in its average rainfall. This drought has earned the dubious distinction of being the worst short rain season experienced in decades.
The reduced rainfall has severe consequences for citizens’ access to water, as traditional water sources dwindle and become unreliable. Furthermore, the agricultural sector, which is a critical component of many Kenyan families’ livelihoods, is experiencing a sharp decline due to the drought. The scarcity of water for crops and livestock is pushing countless families deeper into poverty, compounding the already dire situation. The water crisis in Kenya is not only a matter of basic survival but also an issue intricately linked to the broader challenges of climate change and poverty, requiring urgent attention and comprehensive solutions.
Story of Zenab Jule
Zenab Jule’s story paints a heartbreaking picture of the dire consequences of the water crisis in Africa, particularly Kenya. As an expecting mother already burdened with the responsibility of caring for two other children, she finds herself trapped in poverty exacerbated by the ongoing droughts. Her family’s diet has been reduced to meager portions of maize, a situation that has dire consequences for her two young toddlers who are now suffering from diarrhea. Unfortunately, this is a common ailment among malnourished children under the age of five, highlighting the severe health risks posed by the lack of access to proper nutrition and clean water. The water crisis in Kenya goes beyond affecting individuals like Zenab and her family; it has far-reaching implications for the entire community. Children, in particular, bear a heavy burden. Many are forced to abandon their education to assist their families in securing water or accompany them on long journeys to find this precious resource. These circumstances not only disrupt their schooling but also rob them of a chance at a brighter future. The distance that people like Zenab have to travel to fetch clean water is staggering, with an average journey spanning approximately 9 miles. This arduous trek places immense physical and emotional strain on individuals and families, pushing them to consider leaving their homes in search of better living conditions elsewhere. Addressing the water scarcity crisis in Kenya is an immensely complex challenge, with no single, straightforward solution. However, it is heartening to see that various companies and organizations are actively working on formulating innovative solutions to ensure clean water accessibility. These efforts are vital in providing hope for a better future for people like Zenab and her children, who deserve not only immediate relief but also sustainable solutions to break the cycle of poverty and water insecurity that plagues their lives.
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