President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto on Wednesday led Kenyans in mourning the 47 victims of the Patel Dam tragedy in Solai, Nakuru County.
During the sombre ceremony, President Kenyatta condoled with the bereaved families promising that his administration will continue supporting them and other flood victims to rebuild their lives.
President Kenyatta spoke at the Africa Inland Church (AIC) grounds in Solai during the requiem mass for the victims of the disaster.
“As we mourn with Subukia victims, we are also mourning with Kenyans affected by floods in various parts of the country which include Lamu, Tana River, Kilifi and recently Migori,” he said.
“I am saddened by the accident and I pray for the quick recovery of survivors. The government will help them get back to their normal lives alongside others in the country hit hard by floods,” he said.
The President committed that the government will rebuild all schools which have been destroyed by the floods.
He further said the government will construct roads and social amenities which have been destroyed by floods.
The Head of State called upon the Council of Governors chairman to help in enrolling all flood victims to the National Hospital Insurance Fund scheme, saying this will reduce the burden of the families, most of whom have lost their means of livelihood.
The President, who was accompanied by other top government officials, said flood victims should be given the first priority in the enrolment.
“Through the Council of Governors, I would like all those affected to be registered with NHIF since most of them have lost their breadwinners and cannot afford to pay for medical services,” he said.
The President lauded the residents of Solai and Nakuru County government leadership for their prompt response, which helped save many lives.
Mr Kenyatta announced that the government will process 1,300 title deeds for the Nyakinyua farm owners who were largely affected by the tragedy.
Some of the affected residents were part of a women’s group that entertained Kenya’s founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Mr Ruto, on the other hand, said it was the collective responsibility of all Kenyans to ensure that they conserve the environment through planting trees to avert disasters associated with global warming.
“During such a time, the most natural question is to ask, whose fault was it? But all of us must appreciate that there is something we can do to forestall such calamities in future like planting of trees,” said the Deputy President.
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said that although a lot of challenges were encountered in the rescue of survivors and retrieval of bodies, a number of lessons have been learnt.
Mr Kinyanjui said the response by Kenyans in helping the victims was an indicator that this was a national disaster and not for the county alone, noting that the search mission was still on.
Among those in attendance were Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Eugene Wamalwa (Water and Irrigation), Amina Mohamed (Education) and Mr Simon Chelugui.