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Tears flow as families bury Solai dam disaster victims

By Steve Mkawale and Mercy Kahenda | Published Thu, May 17th 2018 at 00:00, Updated May 16th 2018 at 22:05 GMT +3
Mourners gather around a mass grave in which remains of Patel Dam Tragedy victims were interred at Energy Estate in Solai, Nakuru County on May 16, 2018. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto joined families of the Solai dam tragedy for an interdenominational funeral service.

At least 47 people, including 23 children, died last week when the dam inside the expansive Patel Coffee Estate in Solai burst, sending waters loaded with tree stumps, logs and boulders roaring downhill.

Two villages- Nyakinyua and Energy, where tens of families, some in their sleep, were caught unawares, were completely destroyed by the raging waters.

Yesterday morning, grieving families gathered at the Provincial General Hospital and the County mortuaries to collect bodies of their loved ones.

Some 44 bodies were released for burial.

One body was ferried to Bomet County, while another will be subjected to a DNA test after two families claimed it. 

Twelve of the victims were buried in a public cemetery in Solai trading center.

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Rebuilding lives

During the funeral service, Uhuru and his deputy said victims of floods across the country would be helped to rebuild their lives.

The Head or State said the Government was exploring permanent solutions to perennial flooding to prevent further deaths and destruction of property across the country.

“We must find a solution to prevent death and destruction of property as a result of floods. The Government will play its role, but we need to partner with other groups,” said Uhuru.

He blamed climate change for shifting weather patterns and called for action to counter it.

“The country urgently needs to plant trees and take care of the environment to address this cycle of floods,” he said.

The President rallied governors, through their Council of Governors chairman Josephat Nanok, to help victims of the floods to access medical aid by registering them with the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

He assured survivors of the dam tragedy that the Government would continue helping them.

Uhuru further assured residents of Nyakinyua village that they would get title deeds for their land after waiting for more than 40 years.

Also present at the funeral service were top county and national Government officials, as well First Lady Margaret and the Deputy President’s wife Rachel.

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