Death toll rises to 46 in Solai dam tragedy - Daily Nation

Death toll rises to 46 in Solai dam tragedy, House team calls for probe

Monday May 14 2018

Senators

Members of the Senate Security Committee visited the scene of the tragedy on May 14, 2018. PHOTO | JOSEPH OPENDA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By JOSEPH OPENDA
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By JOYCE MWIHAKI
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The death toll from the Solai dam tragedy on Monday rose to 46 after one more body was found at a coffee farm, five kilometres from the location of the killer dam.

This new development raised concerns of possibility of more missing persons despite the government’s move to scale down the search mission.

It also contradicted Regional Coordinator Mongo Chimwaga’s earlier statement that all the missing persons had been accounted for. However, the government has appealed to the families to report any missing person to the police.

“If you know that you have a neighbour or somebody familiar you haven’t seen, please report so that they can be traced,” Mr Chimwaga said.

He confirmed the recovery of the body of an-eight year old boy, whose name he said was not in missing persons list.

RESCUE TEAM

The administrator also confirmed that they had received a report that a six-year-old girl-Mary Wambui was missing.

“The body of the boy was discovered after a member of the rescue team followed a foul smell emanating from the coffee farm where it was found,” said Mr Chimwaga.

Mr Chimwaga also revealed that the government is working on a compensation plan for the families affected by the tragedy.

He said a committee headed the Kenya Red Cross Society and Action aid had been formed to come up with a compensation plan.

This happened as the Senate Security Committee toured the scene of the tragedy and Solai Boys High school where displaced families are camping.

SPEEDY INVESTIGATION

Led by its chairman Yusuf Haji, Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo and Nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka, the leaders called for speedy investigations into the matter.

Mr Haji revealed that the committee was working  with the disaster management committee, to find a suitable place to relocate all the victims.

“It is dangerous for all these people to be clustered in one place because it might lead to a disease break-out  which can be another disaster,” said Mr Haji.

On Monday, all the bereaved families visited the Nakuru Level Five Hospital and the Nakuru County Mortuary for final identification of the bodies.

“All the bodies have been positively identified and are now waiting for burial,” said Mr Peter Mbae, the area Ward Rep.

Meanwhile, the Naivasha Professional Association will present a draft disaster proposal to the Nakuru County government for deliberations.

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

The association’s lawyer, George Kimani said, the draft seeks to establish a disaster management committee within the 11 sub-counties. Such a move, he said will assist in coordinating responses in case of emergencies as well as post tragedy actions.

“At the moment we lack proper structures and personnel at the sub-county levels, who can respond to emergencies and coordinate activities like handling the issues of donations,” said the lawyer.

Mr Kimani spoke as he handed over donations to the Kenya Red Cross, Naivasha to be ferried to the victims of the Patel Dam tragedy.

Last Friday, the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji set in motion the investigation into the cause of the tragedy.

He directed Inspector General of Police  Joseph Boinnet to conduct through investigations to establish the cause and culpability of the dam tragedy and submit a report of the investigations within 14 days.

On Monday, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said that the County has waived medical and mortuary bills to all the Patel dam victims.

Governor Kinyanjui said, the move will allow families of the deceased to rebuild their lives.

FOOT BILLS

“The county government will help those in hospital to foot their bills and waive mortuary fees for the families. We will continue supporting them until they get back to their normal lives. Those displaced especially children, require special care as they are traumatised,” said Governor Kinyanjui.

The county boss also promised to repair poor roads that hampered search efforts after the tragedy.

Members of the rescue team who rushed to the scene after last Wednesday’s disaster, complained of poor roads which slowed them down.

Meanwhile an interdenominational prayer will be held in Nakuru, on Wednesday ahead of burial of the dam tragedy victims, according to Governor Kinyanjui.

PRAYER SERVICE

“We are inviting Kenyans to join us to stand with the Solai community in prayers,” he said.

Subukia Member of Parliament Samuel Gachobe told the Nation that President Uhuru Kenyatta would attend the prayer service. He said, they were waiting for confirmation from State House.

Kabazi Ward Rep Peter Mbae said out  of the 46 who perished, 12 will be buried at a public cemetery located in the area because they did not have land.

Others, he said, will be ferried to their ancestral homes in Laikipia and Kericho counties while the rest will be buried at their farms in Energy Village.

 BY Joseph Openda, Joyce Mwihaki, Peter Mburu and Macharia Mwangi

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