Households forced to cut costs to survive pandemic

Friday, November 20th, 2020 00:00 |
Water crisis.

Noah Cheploen @cheploennoah

The coronavirus pandemic has forced people living in Nairobi and Mombasa, to cut down on non-essential household item, in a bid to cope with the unfolding financial crisis.

According to a survey conducted by Infotrak, 54 per cent of respondents said that they had reduced their spending significantly, particularly on household items, while 40 per cent said that they had stocked foodstuffs to keep them going.

The survey which was released yesterday also says that water usage had risen by 89 per cent since the advent of the pandemic in March, as more people adopt high level of personal hygiene in order to fight off the virus.

“On water usage, a majority (89 per cent) of the surveyed households across the four counties, indicated that they use more water now than they did before the onset of the pandemic,” the report says.

The survey which was sponsored by the Kenya Water and Civil Society Network sought to determine the level of access to clean water by people living in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale.

These were the first four counties to be struck by coronavirus before it spread to all the 47 devolved units around August-September. 

“While Nairobi continues to register the highest number of Covidcases in the country, its ability to adequately provide residents with water is questionable,” the report says.

“Despite being the capital city, only 40 per cent of Nairobians claim to have access to piped water in their homes and dwellings,” it says. 

The survey says that majority of Nairobians have invested in water storage facilities to cope with water rationing. 

Mombasa which is the second leading in infections in the country, seems to be better off when it comes to access to reliable water, with 64 per cent of respondents indicating that they receive water every day.

 “However, only 27 per cent of Mombasa residents claim to have piped water in their homes,” the report says. 

However, proper hand washing protocols seem to be lacking when there is absence of soap, with majority (56 per cent) of respondents indicating that they only use water to wash their hands.

The report further indicates that open defecation could be creeping back among vulnerable communities, with at least two out of 10 respondents saying they resorted to it, for fear of contracting coronavirus in public places.

On reliability of water supply, approximately 6 in every 10 respondents reported that water is available throughout from their main source. 

Another 21 per cent reported that water is available in their main source, either once or twice in a week.

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