Lokichogio, once bustling with activity and life, now stands as a shadow of its former self. The dusty streets, once filled with the footsteps of NGO workers and foreign visitors, now echo with emptiness and abandonment. What was once a vibrant haven for workers of various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) has transformed into a ghost town, a stark reminder of changing times and neglected promises.

In its heyday, Lokichogio was a beacon of hope, hosting luxury hotels that catered to the needs of foreigners arriving from different corners of the globe. These visitors came to work for NGOs, particularly those dedicated to assisting victims of the Sudan civil war. Hotels like Camp North, 748 Hotel, Proland Inn, Trackmark, and Kate Camp were renowned for their hospitality, serving as temporary homes for those engaged in humanitarian efforts.

However, Lokichogio’s prosperity was short-lived. The town’s fortunes began to decline as its airports became inactive, and neighboring towns like Kakuma and Lodwar offered more affordable accommodation and conference services. The once-luxurious hotels now struggle to survive, with some sections falling into disrepair and decay.

The dilapidated streets of Lokichogio, a stark reflection of its abandoned hotels and compounds, tell a tale of neglect and abandonment. The International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations compound, Aircraft leasing services, Flex Air Cargo, Africa Expedition, and the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) are all fighting to stay afloat in the face of adversity.

Local leaders have called for intervention to revive Lokichogio’s economy, highlighting the urgent need to address the town’s challenges. Benjamin Ekuwam, a resident, reminisces about Lokichogio’s bustling past, recalling a time when the town welcomed visitors from around the world. However, despite signs of NGOs relocating their bases, little was done to sustain the town’s economy.

The decline of Lokichogio has had far-reaching consequences for its residents and businesses. Rehema Chepchumba, the manager of 748 Hotel, laments the decline in bookings and the subsequent impact on staff and operations. With fewer visitors and canceled bookings, hotels are struggling to stay afloat, leaving many rooms unoccupied and staff unpaid.

Hoteliers are appealing to the national government to prioritize the rehabilitation of Lokichogio’s airport and revive the town’s economy. The promise of revitalization has been echoed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, who pledged to work towards reopening the airport and attracting airlines to the region.

Despite efforts to stimulate economic activity, Lokichogio continues to face challenges on multiple fronts. The lack of jobs has forced educated locals to seek opportunities elsewhere, further exacerbating the town’s decline. Urgent action is needed to restore Lokichogio to its former glory and ensure a brighter future for its residents.

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