NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 1 – Members of the Illchamus community, a Maa-speaking group living on the southern shoes of Lake Baringo, filed an urgent case on Wednesday seeking government’s intervention over rising water levels in the lake.
The surge in water levels has resulted in displacements of hundreds of residents with about eighteen schools now submerged in water.
Judge Weldon Korir directed the suit by 91 residents be heard in a week’s time.
The petitioners told the court they live by the shores of Lake Baringo where their homes and schools are submerged yet the government has done nothing so far to mitigate their suffering.
Justice Korir allowed the residents to serve the Attorney General, ministries of Education, Interior and Devolution with the suit papers to facilitate hearing on October 8.
The Illchamus contend that they have filed the case after exhausting all other avenues seeking help without any success.
Justice Korir heard they face a crisis that needs urgent intervention by the government.
“We face unprecedented disaster from rising water levels in Lake Baringo and the government has ignored the adverse effects of the disaster,” the petitioners stated.
Plans by Ministry of Education to reopen schools they say may be futile as their children will not be able to access some of them which have since been swept away by floods and displaced thousands of families.
The community now wants the court to order the government to intervene on grounds it has enough resources including funds to mitigate their suffering.
The Illchamus community has a population of about 40,000 people living mainly on the shores of Lake Baringo.
The community claims it has previously sought the intervention of the court to enforce their rights. Other than perennial flooding, the Illchamus face banditry attacks from the neighboring Pokot.
Other than the eighteen schools which have been submerged or partly submerged, security agencies such as Kiserian GSU camp, Noosukuro RDU camp and chief’s offices have also been affected.
Health facilities and tourist hotels too have been affected.