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Two dead after quarry collapses in Chaka

Thursday January 16 2020

Quarry collapse at Chaka in Nyeri

Search and rescue operations take place at a quarry in Chaka, Nyeri County, which collapsed on January 16, 2020, leaving at least one person dead. PHOTO | NICHOLAS KOMU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NICHOLAS KOMU
By NICHOLAS KOMU
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Two people died Thursday after a quarry wall collapsed at Chaka in Nyeri County.

They were in a team of three that had been working in a pit at Gikindu Quarries when the incident took place at about 10 am.

"They had been digging when the wall collapsed,” Kieni East Sub County Police Commander Wilberforce Sichalanyi said.

Witnesses and police reports stated that the third worker managed to climb out of the pit as the wall started to cave in.

Two other people who were standing nearby were injured by the debris.

RESPONSE

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It was said that other miners in area tried in vain to dig their colleagues out so they alerted authorities.

Police officers and personnel from Kenya Red Cross Society and Nyeri's Fire and Disaster Management Department responded.

First responders who spoke to the Nation said one of the victims was pulled out alive but died while receiving first aid.

They said it took at least five hours to find the body of the other worker as some of the machines that were being used ran out of the fuel.

CONTROLS

Authorities hinted at closure of some of the quarries in the area due to overexploitation in the search of building materials.

They also noted that prolonged rains may have loosened the soil.

“The soils and materials in this area are generally weak ... the bad weather could have contributed to the disaster. Quarry owners need to accept that resources are depleted,” Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga said at the scene.

The governor said a team from the environment department would be dispatched to assess all the quarries in the area.

“All quarries will be inspected because we want to ensure our people are safe. We will also sensitise them on safety measures because we have noted most of them do not have safety equipment."

The county said it would help the victims' families by waiving mortuary fees and paying for their burials.