IsraAID breaks ground on new borehole amid Kenya drought

29 August, 2023

IsraAID

IsraAID, Israel’s leading humanitarian aid organization, broke ground Sunday on a new borehole in Kenya as the Horn of Africa experiences the worst drought in over 40 years. The borehole, which draws up subterranean water, has the potential to provide water to over 5,000 people living outside the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana West, Kenya. The drilling is expected to take about two weeks and is the climax of a year’s work, including intensive hydrological surveys to find new locations where groundwater may be accessed.

The borehole is located in Nakwagat, outside Kakuma refugee camp, and is expected to support 5,000 local community members. The location for the borehole was chosen after an extensive hydraulic survey of the area conducted in partnership with Geophysicists Without Borders. After nearly a year of planning, testing, and analyzing the conditions of groundwater, this location was chosen as the most suitable. Drilling is expected to take about two weeks, followed by intensive water quality testing and installation of solar-powered pumps and taps.

As part of IsraAID’s drought response, the organization is also rehabilitating damaged boreholes in the region, bringing water to many more. IsraAID works closely with all local water authorities, and is training community water committees in the operation and maintenance of new boreholes.

As the Horn of Africa experiences its fifth consecutive failed rainy season, many families are living on as little as seven liters of water a week. This is far below the 15 liters per person per day recommended by the UN for emergency situations. The drought is putting communities at dire risk of malnutrition and starvation. Rates of waterborne illness have spiked as people turn to unsafe or contaminated water sources. Children are often kept out of school to search for water, and women and girls face a higher risk of gender-based violence as they travel long distances to find water.

IsraAID began responding to the refugee crisis in Kenya in 2013, serving both the refugee and host communities in Turkana West County. Kakuma Refugee Camp and the nearby Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement are home to over 230,000 refugees from over 10 countries, including South Sudan, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, and more. Alongside IsraAID’s work in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Kenya, the organization works in Mental Health and Psychosocial Protection, Health, and prevention of Gender-Based Violence.

IsraAID Kenya’s Country Director, Gayle Deighton, said:

“We’re incredibly excited to be breaking ground on this new borehole that has the potential to support so many people in Kakuma. IsraAID has been working in Kenya since 2013, and this project is part of our long-term commitment to building resilience among both the local and refugee communities in Kakuma. We’ve seen the devastating impact of this drought, the worst in over 40 years, and how it has impacted every area of life here. We look forward to helping ensure that families have access to clean, safe water.”

-ENDS-

Further information is available on request, including interviews with Kenya Country Director Gayle Deighton, IsraAID CEO Yotam Polizer, and other individuals involved in this operation.

CONTACT:

Shachar May
Email: [email protected]

Photos:

A folder of photos of IsraAID’s work in Kenya is available here. All photos should be credited to IsraAID/Lameck Ododo.

Notes

IsraAID is a leading international humanitarian non-governmental organization, based in Israel. Since 2001, IsraAID has become synonymous with a rapid response to humanitarian crises. Its medical teams, post-trauma experts, community specialists and other professionals have led international responses to disasters and civil strife around the world. During and after emergencies, IsraAID partners with local communities to re-build their lives, their communities and their futures, together. As of August 2023, IsraAID has responded to crises in more than 60 countries.

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