Kenya

Salvation Army bowsers in Kenya will supply water to drought-hit areas

The Salvation Army's International Emergency Team has been working in Kenya for more than a month, trying to meet some of the needs that drought has brought on the long-suffering people. Water storage tanks and rain-water harvesting equipment are being provided and plans are under way to dig boreholes which will be a longer-term source of water. The most recent part of the scheme enables water to be trucked to where the need is greatest.

All these projects will provide long-term benefits beyond the current crisis. Drought in Kenya and much of east Africa is a perennial problem and much of the provision being put in place will be useful over the coming years as well as in dealing with the current problems.

The Salvation Army team has purchased 10 water bowsers, each capable of transporting 5,000 litres of water. The bowsers will be deployed at central and accessible locations and, in partnership with agencies and local government departments, will be used to truck water to the worst-hit areas.

One problem of long-term drought is that water becomes increasingly difficult to reach. Many people walk great distances carrying buckets and jerry cans just to get enough water to meet their basic needs. Some risk illness by drinking water from rivers. A knock-on effect is that many of the usual foods which require water for preparation can no longer be used easily.

The bowsers weigh around 7.5 tonnes and are designed and built to be towed by tractors and trucks over some of the roughest terrains in Kenya. Mr Marshall Currie, Territorial Projects Officer, reports: 'These bowsers will bring much relief to communities and enable us to respond not just during this drought but more effectively in future years. A perennial problem requires a perennial solution and it is hoped that the ability to truck water from source to need will be part of that solution.'

Captain David Kinsey, Field Support Officer with International Emergency Services, says he has been humbled by the way he and the other team members have been welcomed into homes and communities. 'It is not a simple case of filling a kettle and flicking a switch,' he says. '[The people] have to prepare well in advance to obtain water, often from quite a distance, all for what they regard as the honour of showing us hospitality. What we hope to provide, not only for this current drought but also for years to come, is the provision to obtain water much more easily.'

Report from the Salvation Army Regional Zonal Coordination Office (SARZCO) in Kenya