KPC pays Thange Oil spill victims Sh11m

Thursday July 6 2017

EnviroServ, the company cleaning oil-polluted Thange River in Makueni County, technical manager Nicholas Kipchirchir gestures as he makes a point to Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior (right) and Kenya Pipeline Company Managing Director Joe Sang at an inspection trench near the condemned river on July 5, 2017. PHOTO | PIUS MAUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

EnviroServ, the company cleaning oil-polluted Thange River in Makueni County, technical manager Nicholas Kipchirchir gestures as he makes a point to Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior (right) and Kenya Pipeline Company Managing Director Joe Sang at an inspection trench near the condemned river on July 5, 2017. PHOTO | PIUS MAUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PIUS MAUNDU
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Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) has disbursed Sh11 million to compensate 111 victims who were affected by oil spillage in Thange valley, Makueni County, Managing Director Joe Sang has said.

Mr Sang said that some Sh10 million more was about to be released to the oil spill victims.

"We have discharge vouchers worth Sh10 million that are yet to be received by our insurers, CIC, for disbursement," Mr Sang said on Wednesday when he inspected ongoing works to clean the polluted river and the environment.

He was accompanied by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior, Kibwezi East MP Jessica Mbalu and the Thange community.

PETROLEUM FUMES

Although he was impressed by the ongoing environmental restoration exercise, Mr Sang ordered SGS, a Japanese contractor, to inspect the quality of air in the affected area following complaints by locals that they were inhaling petroleum fumes.

He urged those affected by the spillage to hasten in submitting their claim forms to enable the insurance company to process their compensation.

KPC, he said, was committed to sorting the mess occasioned by the oil spillage cited two years ago.

However, the farmers and the local leaders decried of KPC's "slow pace" in compensating the residents and cleaning the polluted environment.

And according to Muindi Kimeu, the chairman of a committee of farmers affected by the spillage, the amount of money the company had received was a small part of their total claims.

CLEAN WATER

He said that more than 3, 500 farmers who have already submitted their claims forms were yet to be compensated.

In addition to the compensation, KPC has been supplying clean water and relief food to schools and the residents in the affected area.

Senator Kilonzo and Ms Mbalu read foul play in KPC’s apparent slow pace in addressing the Thange oil spill disaster.

They called on Mr Sang to ensure that the insurance company is quick in paying the remaining residents and restoring the environment.

The 2015 spillage was occasioned by a puncture on the Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline, according to KPC.

A report on the environment and social impact of the spillage whose copy the Nation.co.ke has seen, shows that it will cost the government Sh217, 442, 454 to fully restore the livelihoods of affected residents.