West Pokot landslides: Senator Moi implores State to be on high alert

Washed away Sebit bridge that connected Nyarkulian and Parua villages in West Pokot County. [Standard]

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi has called on disaster response units to be on high alerts as heavy rains pound parts of the country.

Mr Moi has said the government needs to map out high-risk areas and place measures averting devastating disasters.

“Given the heavy rains that will continue to be witnessed in parts of the country, the government through the provincial administration should move fast and assess danger spots and sensitize residents while putting emergency services on high alert for swift, rapid response,” he said.

Senator Moi made the remarks on Saturday when he condoled with the families of the victims of the West Pokot county landslides.

“On behalf of myself, my family and the people of Baringo, I send my condolences to the families affected and the people of West Pokot and also wish quick recovery to those recuperating in hospitals,” he said, adding, “As rescue efforts continue, I wish to commend response by the government spearheaded by the ministry of interior and call on more humanitarian organisations to help the victims by complementing government efforts”.

The massive landslides were triggered by heavy downpour in the region and left a heart-breaking trail of destruction in its wake.

At least 29 people have been confirmed dead. Twelve of them are from Tapach and Parua in Pokot South and 17 from Tamkal in Pokot Central.

The rescue operation, that includes a team from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has been hampered by harsh weather and cut-out road networks.

The main road connecting the region between Lodwar and Kapenguria highway has been cut off.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i in a statement to newsrooms said they were using both police and military choppers in the exercise.

“The Government has deployed military and police choppers to scale up responses and respond to the immediate needs of affected families. While rescue and recovery efforts remain the priority, a full assessment into the extent of damage caused continues to be a challenge due to harsh weather conditions,” said Matiang’i.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured that the exercise will go on until everyone is accounted for.

“To those whose loved ones are yet to be found, I assure you that the ongoing multi-agency rescue operation will continue until after every missing person is accounted for,” Uhuru said.