Elwak is one of the oldest towns in northern Kenya and lies south of Mandera County. Elwak is facing a double tragedy when it comes to electrification. First, electricity access rates are low, while the few lucky households with access to electricity face frequent, almost permanent blackouts. Secondly, Elwak town has for a long time now been engulfed in permanent darkness due to unrelenting outages despite the electircity company having installed a new generator to replace the moribund old one.
This unreliability in electricity supply affecting Elwak limits use and the benefits that should accrue from having an electricity connection. These frequent outages have impacted households safety and security, access to food, and access to social services and caused appliance damage as well.
The economic impact of outages on households in Elwak Municipality is substantial. Home production & electricity induced jobs like saloon, Heena Beauty Parlours, barber shops, ice cream shops have suffered. Delivery of critical social services to households and communities including water supply systems, hospitals, schools, and telecommunication systems have also suffered. Power outages in Elwak may render medical devices unusable and compromise the quality of life-saving medicines such as vaccines and oxygen supply especially during these complex times of COVID-19.
School-going children in Elwak have suffered in their night studies and are unable to use enhanced learning gadgets and virtual classes as a result of lack of electricity. This has a consequence of compromising the delivery of quality education and affects morale and academic performance of students.
Prolonged power interruptions have also disrupted the supply of water to households. In highly populated areas of Elwak township, Wargadud, Shimbir Fatuma, Borehole 11 and Kotulo towns loss of water supply may have attendant negative consequences for public health, including high risk for disease outbreaks such as cholera.
Leisure activities for example, watching Olympics, world cup, European Premier League or live transmission are also disrupted by outages, complicating access to information and home based leisure.
I reiterate once again that, it is high time leaders from the area come together and plan on how to solve the common problems confronting the masses, the cry of the residents is too loud and has been there for far too long for the leaders to ignore.
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