Increased human traffic in Lamu during Ramadan raises alarm

Increased human traffic in Lamu during Ramadan raises alarm

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Muslim faithful during Ramadan in Lamu town. FILE/PHOTO.

Lamu, KENYA: Increased human and donkey traffic in Lamu island during this month of Ramadan is now cause for concern.

There have been a notable increase in human traffic especially in the evenings when the Muslim faithful break their fast.

As a result,the narrow pathways in the Lamu Old town have become almost impassable between 5pm and 9pm, when the street are literally swollen with people.

Locals and visitors alike have had to get used to the uncomfortable movements with some choosing to carry out their business which includes shopping and eating out before 5pm.

The island is currently hosting a high number of Muslim faithful from far and wide who came to pass the fast with friends and family.

Traders on the other hand are reaping handsomely from the increased population with many recording triple sales than normal days.

The fact that traders have now moved out of the municipal market and into the Mkunguni square meeting place due to lack of space, has no helped much either.

“When you are walking around here in the evenings you have to be extremely cautious because you shall be knocked down either by someone or a donkey.” Said Alexe Schwein,a swiss national.

Being a world heritage site, the narrow pathways are symbolic of the culture and architecture of past decades and therefore expansion of the streets is out of question.

Many are however of the opinion that the county government can intervene and try to ease up the current congestion; by allocating alternative temporary markets away from the town centre where traders can easily carry out their trade without adding to the congestion.

The congestion is however expected to ease up immediately after Ramadan.

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The major mode of transport on the island are donkeys and its estimated that there are over 5000 donkeys in Lamu town alone.