Climate change driving oil-rich Turkana to the brink

Three children holding their hands under a water tap. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Nasike Lopuricho, 70, slowly walks across the acacia dotted arid hills of Lokichar, Turkana, tending to her goats.

Once in a while, she stops to collect dry branches from the acacia for firewood, which she uses to cook at home. She also sells some of it at a local market for a little money.

Near the homestead where she lives with her family, less than 10km away, huge drilling machines are boring her community land for pricey crude oil which large trucks later haul to the Port of Mombasa for shipping to China.

In 2012, the British oil explorer Tullow Oil discovered oil deposits estimated at 560 million barrels in Turkana. An early oil pilot scheme in the Lokichar Basin, one of the oil mining fields, began more than two months ago, producing between 400 and 600 barrels of oil daily.

Unfortunately, more than seven years after the exploration began, Turkana still struggles with the same problems: limited or no access to healthcare, poor roads and periodical deaths from hunger and starvation.

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