They were pupils, they were teachers. Farmers, business people, homemakers. The 47 who lost their lives in the Solai dam tragedy on May 9 in Nakuru, leave behind heartbroken classmates, family, friends and communities. These are their stories.
- Mercy Njeri, Charles Muchiri, James Njung’e and Fredrick Waweru
Muchiri, 58, died alongside his wife, Njeri, 24-year-old son Njung’e and six-year-old grandson, Waweru, on that tragic night.
A long-time resident of Solai, Muchiri was a popular businessman who operated a household items shop at Solai centre. While, Njeri was in charge of the family’s posho mill adjacent to the shop.
Njung’e, the lastborn and only son of the Muchiri’s was a recent diploma graduate in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
When the tragedy struck, he was at home with his parents and nephew.
His other two siblings, were not at home on the fateful night
Eunice Njeri, John Koina and Anne Wambui
Njeri, a mother of three died in the tragedy together with her two children, Koina, 10, and Wambui, 3.
Her daughter Dorcas Njeri who is six months old survived the tragedy and is now under the care of Njeri’s parents.
Njeri was employed as a tea plucker at the Patel Farm.
Koina was a Class 5 pupil at Solai Nyakinyua Primary School.
- Tabitha Nyambura
On the ill-fated evening, Nyambura was at home with her two children, Ruth Wairimu, 19, and Eunice Wanjiku, 8, and three guests who had visited.
They were all swept away by the raging waters.
Nyambura was a casual worker and according to her brother, Stephen Kariuki, her body was found on the lower side of the village.
Chepkoech, a mother of three, died in the tragedy leaving behind her children who are now under the care of their grandmother.
Alicia Namulu and Joseph Namunat
Namulu, 5, and her brother Namunat, 2, were swept away as their parents watched.
Their father, George Wanjala, said he and his wife tried to help their children but the mighty waters overcame them.
Their infant brother, who was a month old at the time of the tragedy survived.
They were buried in a mass grave, among ten other victims at the Solai Cemetery.
Anastasia Chepkemoi and Rehema Chepkorir
Four-year-old Chepkemoi and her sister Chepkorir, 6, were killed by the raging waters on the day of the tragedy.
Chepkemoi was a pupil at the Solai Nyakinyua Primary School, while Chepkorir was in pre-school.
Their remains were buried at their parents’ home in Solai.
Ms Muthoni was a mother of three and an Early Childhood Development teacher in Nyakinyua.
On the night of the tragedy, her house was destroyed by the water and died after the walls fell on her.
Her daughter Sera Muna, 17, who was with her survived the tragedy.
- Stephen Mbugua
Mbugua, 90, lived in Nyakinyua village with his family for many years.
On the tragic night, the elderly man could do little to help himself as he was blind.
His daughter Teresia Njeri, who was with him survived the tragedy.
Catherine Nabenyo, 26 and Samuel Nanok
Nabeyo, 26, and her husband Nanok perished together with their two children, Immaculate, 3, and Maxwell, 2.
They were casual labourers.
They died as they tried to rescue their children.
Nabeyo’s sister, who was living with them, Jane Akiru, survived the tragedy. But their cousin Jane Amana also lost her live.
Amana, a casual labourer, was living with the Nanok’s when the tragedy struck.
She was swept away by the waters.
Beatrice Wanja and Geoffrey Kamau
Wanja and Kamau were a couple living in Nyakinyua Village.
They were dairy farmers and also reared chicken for a living.
They died as they attempted to save their children.
Kibe was to sit for his Class Eight exams this year. The 13-year-old was a pupil at Endau Primary School.
Monicah Kale and Josphine Kale
Siblings, six-year-old Monicah and seven-year-old Josphine, were pupils at Solai Nyakinyua Primary School.
Monicah was in Class One and Josphine was in Class Two.
Ms Hasimiti, 35 was a casual labourer and lived in Energy village.
When the tragedy occurred, she was alone in her house.
Solai Nyakinyua Primary school pupils
The school lost 14 pupils in the tragedy and one teacher.
According to the school head teacher Stanley Njoroge, 62 pupils were severely affected by the tragedy.
Out of the 14 pupils who died in the tragedy, nine of them were in pre-primary.