HotSpots H2O, September 17: Tribal Clashes Leave Several Dead In Kenya as Resources, Aid Dry Up

The Rundown

Water shortages are stirring unrest across Kenya. In the Rift Valley, tribal clashes over water and pasture are common. Both domestic tribes and those from neighboring countries, including South Sudan and Ethiopia, spar frequently. In the past week, six Turkana herdsmen were shot dead near the Kenya-South Sudan border. Elsewhere in the Rift Valley, a nighttime clash left three people dead, spurred by government evictions that targeted one group but not the other. According to officials, both incidents had links to water.

Elsewhere in Kenya, another crisis is unfolding. The country is home to more than 500,000 East African refugees. Most refugees fled conflict and drought in nearby countries and now reside in overcrowded camps. According to aid agencies, heavy cuts in foreign aid are jeopardizing refugees in Kenya, leaving them with little food or clean water and raising the likelihood of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, and cholera.

“Fast and furious budget cuts are hitting the East Africa aid sector hard. If more funding isn’t found, malnutrition will rise, schools will close, and water-borne diseases will break out.” –Nigel Tricks, Director of the Norwegian Refugee Council, in a statement on the lack of funding for East African refugee camps. A decrease in aid threatens to further exacerbate the country’s resource shortages.

By The Numbers

6 Turkana herders killed last weekend. The attack was allegedly instigated by South Sudanese herders who had stolen 100 cattle in part of an ongoing conflict over water and pasture.

3 People in Nakuru County, Kenya, who were reportedly killed amid tribal clashes on Wednesday. Five people were also taken to the hospital with arrow wounds.

$97 million Funding that the United Nations has received this year to support 500,000 refugees living in Kenya, compared to $340 million in funding received in 2017.  

On The Radar

The Rift Valley Water Services Board, which supplies water to the seven counties in the valley, hopes to provide water to 80 percent of residents by 2022. Hosea Wendot, the board CEO, acknowledges that providing clean water will help reduce Rift Valley conflict. Among other initiatives, the board is currently constructing a dam in Nakuru County.

Resources and Further Reading

3 dead as fresh clashes erupt in Mau Forest, Nakuru County (Daily Nation)
Rich nations must act to avoid ‘refugee catastrophe’ in East Africa – aid agencies (Reuters)
Scarcity of water among causes of conflict in parts of Rift Valley (NTV)
Six Turkana herdsmen shot dead by suspected bandits from S.Sudan (Daily Nation)

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