Kenya: Nairobi's Water Shortage Raises COVID-19 Risk

Hand washing. Hygiene. Cholera. Tap water.

Some parts of Kenya's capital have been without running water for weeks, after a landslide destroyed a water pipe, making frequent hand washing for coronavirus prevention a challenge. Water distribution points have been set up to help tens of thousands of Kenyans cope.

For more than two months, Maureen Mkala has taken a narrow alley in Mathare slum in Nairobi to get water for her family, including three children.

She ends up at a crowded water point and it takes her an hour to get 20 liters of water.

"I look for water to clean my hands so that I don’t get the virus. We have a water problem and you are forced to go to the crowded water points to get water," she said.

A landslide in April destroyed a major water pipe in central Kenya, cutting off running water to entire Nairobi neighborhoods.

The need for water has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people are encouraged to wash their hands regularly to limit the spread of the virus.

Roda Angaya said she is forced to ignore health guidelines in order to get water.

There are many people at the water point, and they are told to keep one-meter distance to limit the spread of coronavirus, Angaya said, questioning how that is possible when everyone is fighting to get the little water that is available.

In central Kenya, engineers are fixing the water line to restore running water supplies, which fell by as much as 20%.

The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company said they have reduced the water loss to about 10% and the new line being installed will resolve the shortage.

“There won’t be landslides where we are taking the line through,” said Nashashon Muguna, Managing Director at Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company. “The line realignment is about 3.4 kilometers. We expect by mid-June we will be through with it. Already, road work has been done on 8 kilometers. So, all the materials can be able to access the site easily.”

For the people of Mathare, and tens of thousands of others forced to collect water during the pandemic, the work cannot be finished soon enough.

More From: VOA

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.