Uhuru, Ruto to attend joint mass for Solai dam victims

Solai residents prepare a grave for one of the Patel Dam tragedy victims yesterday. [Harun Wathari, Standard]
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto are expected to attend a joint burial service for 47 people who died last week when the Patel dam burst in Solai, Nakuru Country.

Yesterday, a meeting on burial preparations chaired by Valley Regional Coordinator Mongo Chimwaga heard that some of the families had not agreed on plans for burial of their loved ones.

“Some of the families have agreed to transport bodies of their loved ones to their ancestral homes in different parts of the country for burial,” said Mr Chimwaga.

Two of the bodies, he said, will leave for Laikipia and Bomet after the joint burial service to be conducted today at the African Inland Church in Solai.

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Residents gathered at Nyakinyua village, where hundreds of locals had constructed temporary shelters, in readiness for burial.

John Mureithi supervised as locals dug a grave where his sister Tabitha Nyambura together with her two daughters aged 16 and six years will be buried.

“My sister’s homestead was here. She had a house where she has lived for more than 30 years after inheriting the land from her mother,” said Mr Mureithi.

Geoffrey Ngure was also preparing for burial of his uncle John Kahuria, who, he said, used to live alone.

As burial plans were ongoing, some families in Solai were still optimistic that they would find their loved ones alive, days after the tragedy.

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Some said they had visited various hospitals and mortuaries to look for missing loved ones without success.

At least 47 people were killed and more than 500 left homeless in the tragedy.

A multi-agency team comprising Kenya Defense Forces soldiers, Kenya Red Cross Society, National Youth Service and Action Aid personnel has been actively involved in the search mission.

Chimwaga said the search operation would continue.

He said a compensation committee was compiling a list of all affected families in various categories, indicating landlords, tenants, those who died and those whose farms and houses were destroyed.

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William RutoUhuru KenyattaSolaiPatel dam