Twelve ECDE pupils injured after latrine caves in on them

At least 12 Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) children were injured on Thursday afternoon after they fell into a pit latrine luckily escaping death in a school in Uasin Gishu.

The incident happened at Moi's Bridge Baptist Bible Mission and Nursery school exposing fears of poor safety conditions of learners in schools.

The pupils were reportedly playing outside the 25-feet latrine during lunch break when it caved in 'swallowing' the children aged between four and six years.

A look at the pit latrine painted a picture of a poor structure that caved in under the weight of 12 children.

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Witnesses said the children were playing on one section of the toilet when one of them started pushing the brick-walled structure and it suddenly collapsed.

Agneta Wafula who owns a shop opposite the school said the lives of the children were saved by a quick response from locals in the neighbourhood.

Ms Wafula said she was alerted by cries for help by a female teacher at the school.

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"I saw the teacher crying for help and we immediately rushed to the scene. The children were crowded inside the toilet. It was by sheer luck that residents moved in swiftly,"  Wafula said.

Ms Wafula said she provided ropes that were used to pull them from the pit latrine which is also used by members of the Church.

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Jackline Mideva, a mother of one of the victims said men from the neighbouring Bwai village went down the latrine and put the children in buckets before pulling them out one by one.

Ms Mideva said her daughter sustained bruises. She said the five-year-old pupil was soiled by human waste.

"It was by the grace of God that our children survived the incident. We are yet to understand how more than ten children fell into a pit latrine," the shocked mother said.

Moi's Bridge location Chief Wilson Sirma said the incident happened at around 1.40 pm.

Mr Sirma said preliminary reports indicate the pit latrine was poorly constructed using weak construction materials.

According to the chief, the pit latrine's slab and wire mesh used to support it were weak and put the life of children and worshippers at risk.

"Three children were rescued because of the quick response by residents in the neighborhood. The matter is now being handled by the police and we hope to get the bottom of the matter," Kirwa said.

He continued: "We are also still asking ourselves why and how 12 young learners fell into a pit latrine."

He said the situation would have been worse if the toilet had water.

A school teacher at the mud-walled church went missing and could not be located last evening.

But the Chief said she will record a statement with the police in connection with the incident.

The injured learners were rushed to a nearby Moi's Bridge Health Centre and by 6.30 pm and all of them had been discharged.

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ECDEUasin GishuMoi's Bridge Baptist Bible MissionPit latrinePupils