Ms Mary Waruguru, a volunteer who saved 30 victims of the Patel Dam tragedy last week, has received special recognition from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
During inter-denominational prayers for 47 people who died in the tragedy in Solai, Nakuru County, President Kenyatta, in a surprise move, held Ms Waruguru’s hand as she passed by his side. He greeted her and recognised her heroic act.
Last week, Nakuru leaders, among them Governor Lee Kinyanjui and Subukia Member of Parliament Samuel Kinuthia Gachobe, praised Ms Waruguru for her selfless action.
Fresh from acquiring life-saving skills from the Kenya Red Cross, Ms Waruguru risked her life to save more than 30 people, among them children.
“She did well and deserves special recognition,” said the governor while visiting the scene of the tragedy last week.
And Mr Gachobe said: “She received most of the patients I brought for first-aid and they all survived.”
Ms Waruguru opened a clinic 100 metres from Solai shopping centre months before the tragedy.
On Wednesday, neighbours alerted the clinic about the floods. Some doctors, fearing for their lives, fled, leaving her alone. “Two women came to the clinic carrying babies. They were in dire need of first-aid. The water had nearly suffocated the babies and one of them, three weeks old, was unconscious,” she told the Nation during an interview.
Many other people, who went to the clinic for assistance, begged her not to leave the facility and attend to their children.
“There were screams all over and everyone was running away,” she said. Although not a medic, Ms Waruguru was committed to apply the little skills she had to save lives.
She requested her neighbour to warm water to bathe the babies. Ms Waruguru said that she was excited when one of the babies out a loud scream.
“This gave me motivation to continue assisting other needy cases,” she said.
Half an hour later, a police van took more people who required first aid to her. “We washed the babies with the warm water, wrapped them with blankets. At this time, more people were being brought in,” she said.
After realising that the clinic was not affected, the doctors came in to attend to more than 20 children and 30 adults.
ROADS CUT OFF
“This was the only facility available for first aid because the road had been cut off by the water and with only two examination beds, some had to lie on the floor,” said Ms Waruguru.
Most of the people brought to the facility had suffered multiple fractures. She said that most of the children brought in were in shock and stabilising them was not easy.
“Unlike adults, stabilising the children was difficult but we succeeded as no lives were lost at the clinic,” she said.