Some 37 families who were victims of the Solai dam tragedy in Subukia, Nakuru County have a reason to smile after they were Thursday handed new houses by the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS).
The beneficiaries owned houses in Solai but they were destroyed when the Patel dam collapsed on May 9, 2018.
The tragedy claimed 48 lives and left hundreds of families displaced when the raging waters swept their houses and other property downstream.
Speaking during the official handing over ceremony, KRCS South Rift Manager Nicholas Kemboi said the housing project was part of the Solai community reconstruction programme.
“We had to ensure that the victims have a place to call home [and] we are happy that we managed to complete the project in time,” said Mr Kemboi.
According to him, the project cost a total of Sh37 million.
Each of the 37 houses has two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and an ablution block outside the main house.
The bedrooms were also furnished with a mattresses and a bed each.
Ms Teresia Njeri, one of the beneficiaries, expressed her gratitude upon receiving the keys to her new house.
While thanking the initiators of the housing project, Ms Njeri, who lost her father and daughter in the tragedy, said the house will save her the hustle of looking for monthly rent which has been her biggest nightmare.
“Now that I have a house, I have decided to put the past aside in order to start rebuilding my life,” said Ms Njeri.
Ms Ann Mumbi on the other hand said her house will give shelter to her and her five siblings whom she takes care of following the death of her mother in the tragedy.
“After the tragedy, our life became very difficult as we struggled to look for rent but at least the burden seems to have been offloaded,” said Ms Mumbi.
Rongai Deputy Sub-County Commissioner Julius Kavita urged the beneficiaries to occupy the houses themselves, warning them against renting them out for profit.
Mr Kavita also cautioned the victims against engaging in cheap politics which he said threatened to stall the reconstruction programme.
The Nakuru County Executive for Trade Raymond Komen was also present, representing Governor Lee Kinyanjui.