Landslide displaced families to mark Christmas in Camps

More than 50 people whose houses were washed away by landslides last month will be celebrating Christmas in makeshift camps.

Heavy rains in West Pokot County caused the landslides. Some of those interviewed said the government had neglected them, even after promising to hastily get them out of the camps.

They are being sheltered at Nyarkulian, Parua and Paroo camps.

They said they planned to hold church services to mark Christmas and thank God for keeping them alive even after the landslides robbed them of loved ones.

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"We want to tell people that Jesus will be born in our hearts despite what we have endured," said Yarang Kapel, a victim. 

Mr Kapel, who lost seven children and is now living in Paroo camp, said what made Christmas so sorrowful was the fact that bodies of his four children were not recovered.

"The spirit of my departed children appear in my dreams. They are haunting. I wish I could get my children's remains,” he said. 

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Buried alive

He added that he was hoping the government would provide the camp dwellers with food during the festive period.

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Raphael Pkolowo, another victim living in Nyarkulian camp, said he had nothing to celebrate this Christmas.

Mr Pkolowo said he remembered how his family was buried alive in the catastrophic floods.

"Our lives in these camps are difficult. We have limited resources. We can't be happy because we have no place to call home. The government should resettle us urgently," he said. 

Mr Pkolowo said they had hoped some charity organisations would provide them with food this Christmas, but none had turned up.

However, yesterday Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa got a Sh10 million cheque from the Chinese embassy as Christmas gift for the flooding victims.

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Mr Wamalwa said the government would erect houses for the victims in January.

"It is good that the Chinese government has remembered the victims. We will distribute food to all those who are being sheltered in camps," said Wamalwa.

West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo said his administration, and the national government, would build two-roomed houses for the victims.

He urged the Ministry of Education allocate more funds to six schools that were worst hit by the landslide, for renovation.

He said each of the schools needed Sh5 million.

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ChristmasWest Pokot CountyLandslideLandslide victims