Hospitality industry counts losses as Lake Turkana swells
The Continual rising of water levels in Lake Turkana has caused losses amounting to millions of Shillings to the residents and businesses along the lake. Turkana Chamber of Commerce Chairman Pius Ewoton said that the situation now is awful and there is a very urgent need to put interventions that will rescue the situation.
"As the Chamber of Commerce, we understand that the proprietors of this hospitality facilities are members of Kenya Tourism Board and therefore this is the most critical moment that the Board should come and respond through financial support in solidarity with its members,” said Pius Ewoton.
Christine Arot, Proprietor Christine Camp in Eliye Springs said that she is stranded and the only option is to shut down the business.
"My hotel, kitchen and restaurant are now fully submerged in the water. I cannot host visitors and tourists here anymore as water levels increase every day submerging the guest houses," she said.
She is appealing to the government and well-wishers to grant her financial support to enable her to relocate and reestablish her business to recover from the losses.
Jackson Nakua, the Chairman Natirae Village, said that they started noticing a rapid increase in the water levels in the lake but thought that it was due to the rain waters.
"We have so far relocated our settlements several times and, in each phase, we incur a lot of losses as our properties get destroyed by water. This has completely affected our small businesses as we end up use the little earnings to put up new structures from time to time," he said.
Denis Biwott, Manager Eliye Springs Resort, explained the frustrations that the hospitality industry along the shores of Lake Turkana have gone through.
"The business here has been doing good until early 2020 with the advent of COVID 19 pandemic. As we were preparing to seek survival mechanisms to adapt to its devastating impacts, we're unexpectedly hit by the worst of all - the sudden rise of the water levels to more than 100 Meters from the initial point."
"We have lost seven Cottages worth 5 million shillings, two marine boats worth 5 million shillings and there is fear that we could lose more," he said.
The fishermen have also felt the pain. Peter Eregae, a fisherman in Lake Turkana narrates how the waters have affected their fishing activities in the lake.
"The thorny bushes which used to be around the lake are now deep into the lake. They tear our nets letting all the fish harvested for the day free. Each day we not only experience losses but we are also forced to repair or buy other nets," said Eregae.
Martin Namusasi, Manager Bahamas Resort in Kalokol says his resort has not been spared by the raging waters. He said that he was forced to let his staff go since the resort is no longer operating.
Joseph Losuru, the Chamber Vice Chairman called on all stakeholders including Turkana County Government, the Ministry of Tourism as well as other Government Institutions to gear their efforts towards providing support to the hospitality industry in Turkana especially those along the Lake.