State faulted as West Pokot holds mass for its dead
Mourners cut offHowever, mourners from Pokot Central Sub county could not make it to the requiem mass after close to 10 bridges connecting the entire Sigor Constituency were swept away by flash floods. Some canceled their journeys halfway after finding the recently rehabilitated bridge at Ortum swept away by floods following heavy rains on Monday night. Some of the family members made frantic arrangements to move their kin's bodies through longer routes that will take them to the neighbouring Elgeyo Marakwet and back to West Pokot for tomorrow’s burials. Among the mourners was Kapel Yaranyang, 43, from Muino area who lost seven children after they were swept by the raging waters. However, only three bodies of his children were recovered.Four are still missing. The three bodies of his children were preserved at Kitale Referral Hospital morgue. Yaranyang, who arrived late for the requiem mass, said he travelled to Kitale to see the bodies and found that the caskets were too small. “I had to look for alternative caskets at a workshop to fit the bodies, that is why I was late for the mass. The clothes and shoes were also too small,” he said. He said it has been challenging to organise for the children's burials. “I will have to go all the way through Elgeyo Marakwet County, connect from there to Lomut then to Muino so that the three bodies can reach home for burial. The long route will see us travel overnight,” he said. He appealed to the Government to help him recover the four remaining bodies. “How will I conduct a funeral for my three children and leave out the other four? What am I burying on behalf of the four bodies?” he queried. He said he cannot continue keeping the three bodies at the morgue to await the finding of the other four. "I want to forget about this tragedy and start a new beginning. The bodies keeps on reminding me of the horrific night. The burials will ease the burden," he said. Leaders who attended the service appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare floods and landslides a national disaster. They criticised the State for its poor handling of the humanitarian crisis. Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eugene Wamalwa who represented the State said the Government will ensure affected families are resettled within the shortest time noting floods have affected 30 counties. He encouraged governors to set aside resources for disaster management to curb deaths in future. “Complaints have been raised by leaders and I will inform the president to visit West Pokot county and condole with affected families,” he said. He promised that the Government would build modern houses for displaced families on safer grounds. Wamalwa assured families whose kin's bodies have not been recovered that government agencies would not give up the search.
Neglected residentsGovernor John Lonyangapuo accused the national government of neglecting residents of West Pokot after the calamity. “The Government should hear our cry, KeNHA repaired the bridge at Ortum, but right now the bridge has been swept away,” he said. Tiaty MP William Kamket said the president should declare floods a national disaster. In attendance were David Pkosing (Pokot South), Mark Lomunokol (Kachelipa) Samuel Moroto (Kapenguria), Peter Lochakapong (Sigor), Lilian Tomitom (Woman Representative), PS Micah Powon, and CAS Simon Kachapin. Pkosing read the president's speech and acknowledged Uhuru’s contribution of Sh1 million to support the flooding victims.
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