• May 27, 2024
  • Last Update May 27, 2024 12:55 PM
  • Nairobi

Woman’s agony after losing eight family members to Mai Mahiu flood tragedy

Woman’s agony after losing eight family members to Mai Mahiu flood tragedy

Naivasha,

Thursday, May 2, 2024

KNA by Erastus Gichohi/ Mabel Keya

The government’s commitment to speed up the search and retrieve bodies that were marooned by raging floods on Monday morning in Mai Mahiu has led to the recovery of 52 bodies.

The State’s Chief Pathologist Johansen Oduor has hit the ground running for postmortem exercises for the victims of the fatal incident that decimated several villagers.

The incident which was caused by the bursting of a blocked old railway tunnel near Old Kijabe town will remain forever etched on the minds of families who have lost their loved ones.

A section of families has camped at Ngeya Secondary School in Mai Mahiu town and the government has established an emergency centre to give details of their missing kin and aid the ongoing search mission.

According to Kenya Red Cross officials, over 51 individuals including children were still missing with fears that they could be buried under the muddy debris or were washed away by the raging floods to distant areas.

However, amid the tragedy, termed as the worst occurrence during this rainy season, one tearful woman who survived the night of horror is yet to come to terms with the worst news of her life.

Mary Muthoni Mwangi who is hospitalized at the Naivasha Level IV hospital lost eight of her family members to the unfortunate incident, the largest number that has hit one family so far.An agonised Muthoni is yet to fathom the hard news narrating that 10 of her family members had gathered at her house to fundraise for her son who is incarcerated at Naivasha GK prison.

Muthoni further detailed that at 3am on Monday during her routine prayer session, fierce flash floods that followed a grumbling sound knocked off her house at Ruiru village and in seconds, flashed everyone out.

Creating a state of confusion, children cried for help as the unforgiving waters mixed with stones and tree twigs washed them downstream. Muthoni and one daughter survived while eight perished.

“Please save me, the children wailed for help but all efforts to do so failed,” she recounted the ordeal.

Muthoni, who is recuperating from injuries and trauma, said she survived the horrific incident after she was blocked by tree branches a few meters from her house where she was later retrieved from by first responders.

“My family had decided to stay together after the meeting ended late that night unaware of the danger that lurked in darkness.

Why did it have to occur that day?” a tearful Muthoni wondered.Consequently, Muthoni said they had not received any government advisory to vacate their homes and move to higher grounds, which she added could have averted the danger and saved her family.

Bedridden in a male ward at the hospital is Peter Waweru, a survivor who unfortunately also lost his wife and two of his children to the flooding incident after they were retrieved buried under the mud.

Waweru who is nursing head and waist injuries narrated the sad situation that engulfed his community causing him the loss of lives and entire properties that he had accumulated over the years.

Waweru said he was yet to believe his wife and two of his children were no more adding that all efforts to save them failed as the forceful water took them kilometres away.

The father of four regretted that though there were scattered messages for more to vacate their homes to evade the danger, most of the residents ignored alluding that government agencies remained mute about the looming danger.

Currently, 23 victims of the flooding are being attended to at the Naivasha Level IV hospital with many of them out of critical care wards thanks to a dedicated team of health personnel.

So far, the government officials who have since visited the scene to comfort affected families have announced full support including rebuilding the decimated homes and footing their medical bills.

The government has also deployed over 400 National Youth Service personnel and activated hundreds of military officers to join in the coordinated search and rescue efforts of all missing persons.

In addition, volunteer private counsellors have joined hands to offer psycho-social aftercare to the affected families as they processed the harsh reality that befell their loved ones.

As heavy rains continued to pound regions across the country, the government has issued a clarion call and committed support for communities in flood-prone danger zones to vacate their homes until the situation subsided.

Nationally, a total of 188 deaths have been reported as a result of extreme weather conditions, 125 people were injured, 90 individuals were reported missing and 165, 5000 others were displaced.

To avert any further loss of lives, the government has ordered a nationwide assessment and inspection of all dams that have been identified to be high risk.

Courtesy; KNA

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