Over 200 families who lost their houses to deadly landslides in West Pokot in November last year have breathed a sigh of relief after getting new ones.
The county and national governments, in collaboration with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), have built them new houses.
The new 223 houses were handed over to the families last Friday, bringing to an end the agony that they have been suffering since the natural disaster hit three villages, killing more than 50 people.
The landslides displaced hundreds and destroyed property in the villages of Nyarkulian, Muino and Parua.
The government tasked KRCS with building the 223 two bed roomed semi-permanent houses.
The resettlement project was initiated after the government and other humanitarian agencies mobilised funds to resettle the victims.
Speaking while handing over the houses KRCS Secretary-General Aisha Mohammed said that the displaced families have already moved in.
She thanked well-wishers, the county and national governments for their support to those affected by landslides.
“We thank locals and the Kenya Red Cross volunteers for their cooperation,” said Dr Mohammed.
West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo said that they collected Sh31 million from well-wishers and Sh25 million had been spent on the houses.
“We applaud Kenyans for the support. We saw massive support from well-wishers, the Council of Governors, the national government and other stakeholders. We are still facing similar problems. We experienced floods in Chesegon last week. Our people there need help. We lost lives and most of them lost properties and they will be helped,” he said.
Prof Lonyangapuo revealed that some organisations and individuals had not honoured their funds pledges.
“We were receiving the funds by cheques, no hard cash,” he said.
Moses Losekira, who represented the victims, said the task was hard but they are happy to see that houses have been rebuilt for most of the families.
Ms Chepokonjiro Nguletu, a mother of eight and a beneficiary, said she was happy to get a new house after losing her previous one to the landslides.
“My previous house was grass-thatched but I got the one roofed with iron sheets. My life has changed,” she said.
Her face was filled with joy as she moved to her new house.
“When Red Cross came to our village and they engaged us on safe shelter promising to come back with housing solutions, I was sceptical as we had been given many blind promises before. I didn’t think that they would keep their word. When they finally came back, my faith in humanity was restored. I am very grateful to the Kenya Red Cross and the Kenyan government for their kindness and help during this challenging time,” she added.
Ms Helen Chelotu, another beneficiary, said they were happy that the houses had been built fast.
“If it wasn’t for Kenya Red Cross, I would not have afforded such a house,” she remarked.