Missing 40 in dam tragedy accounted for - Daily Nation

Missing 40 in Patel Dam tragedy accounted for

Sunday May 13 2018

 Patel Dam

Kenya Defence Force soldiers sift through mud and debris in search of bodies of victims after Patel Dam burst its banks. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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Search efforts following Wednesday night’s dam disaster at Solai in Nakuru County were scaled down on Saturday after the government announced that all people reported missing had been accounted for.

Rift Valley regional coordinator Mongo Chimwaga said that all the 40 who had been listed as missing were accounted for after tallying was done based on the number of bodies in mortuaries and information from relatives.

Mr Chimwaga said the search and rescue team would reduce its operations to concentrate on the displaced families and the dams.

A breakdown given by Mr Chimwaga stated that two names had been repeated on the list of the 40 persons reported as missing, leaving a total of 38 missing persons.

A physical identification in the camp conducted yesterday identified 16 persons earlier listed as missing, leaving a balance of 22 on the list of missing persons.

MISSING PERSONS

“Cross-checking of the remaining 22 was done in the two mortuaries and 21 were positively identified by relatives, leaving one person on the list of missing persons,” he explained.

The last person, identified as James Kemer, had run to neighbours during the tragedy, according to the administrator.

Kenya Defence Forces soldiers search for bodies

Kenya Defence Forces soldiers search for bodies on May 12, 2018. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“This means all the 40 missing persons have been accounted for,” the statement concluded.

In an earlier interview with the Nation, he said there was surplus of foodstuff and bedding.

“We require building materials now. The food has come in plenty. We require that Kenyans either shift to either the M-Pesa Red Cross Pay Bill number or on building materials so that at the end, the affected can get a place to go to so that we don’t have a protracted camp of displaced people,” he said.

MASSIVE DONATIONS

Mr Chimwaga spoke against the backdrop of massive donations that had come from corporates and individuals.

Private organisations, civil society groups and Kenyans of goodwill have been donating foodstuffs and other basic needs to the victims in the last three days.

Solai area assistant County Commissioner Vicky Munyasia, who has been in charge of receiving donations from well-wishers, said they had received huge support from Kenyans across the country.

According to Ms Munyasia, the victims are able to forget some of their problems thanks to the continuous flow of donations.

“We are actually overwhelmed by the generous response from Kenyans who have donated enough foods, clothing and bedding to the families,” said Ms Munyasia.

SURVIVORS

Meanwhile, survivors in the areas hard hit by the tragedy were yesterday working hard to rebuild what they could, only that in most areas, the soil where works are done had been washed away, leaving bare rock.

A few residents at Energy village were seen collecting poles, roofs and a few belongings that were left behind by the raging waters.

At the same time, civil society continued piling pressure on the government to prosecute whoever was responsible for the accident.

The Centre for Justice and Governance and Environmental Action, in a statement, asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to “find personal culpability with the officers who approve such dams and other destructive projects”.

“The State is mandated to oversee the protection of the environment under the Environmental Management and Coordination Act,” said the organisation’s executive director Phyllis Omido.

 By Elvis Ondieki, Magdaline Wanja and Joseph Openda

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