Turkana crash survivors recount moments before lorry overturned

Crash survivor Kasile Ekidor, 5, with her father at Lodwar County Hospital. The crash claimed 14 lives. [Bakari Ang’ela, Standard]

Tears flowed down Esinyen Emoru’s cheeks as he tried to come to terms with the death of his wife and two children in a crash along the Lodwar-Kakuma road. Emoru’s five-year-old son survived and is admitted to the hospital with an injured shoulder. 

Emoru said he was informed that his wife and children had been involved in an a crash and they were all in critical condition.

“I only found my son alive but injured on the right shoulder. I have confirmed that the others are dead. I am yet to come to terms with the losses. The child regained consciousness and asked me where his mother and siblings are. I don’t know what to tell him,” Mr Emoru said.

Fourteen-year-old Akauron Edapal was on her way home to Kaeris village when the accident happened. Edapal, who is preparing to join Form One at Kaeris Girls Secondary School, sustained injuries.

Edapal lost her mother Kevina Edapal, her elder sister Amoni Edapal who sat her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education last year, and cousin in the accident.

“We are yet to break the sad news to her as she is still weak. She told us that she saw a camel crossing the road before the accident happened,” said a relative, David Lochampa.

Mary Ayanai, a survivor, said she was asleep. “A bang woke me up. All I heard were the cries of people calling for help. Bodies were strewn all over the scene. I am lucky to be alive today,” she said.

Another survivor, Benjamin Maraka, said the driver tried to dodge a camel that was crossing the road when another one emerged from the roadside and the driver hit it before the lorry overturned and rolled.

According to Nicholas Lowete, travellers to Turkana North prefer lorries because matatus are few and the lorries are cheaper.

“Public service vehicles, which are mainly Probox, charge at least Sh2,000 per passenger from Lodwar to Turkana North. Lorries charge half that amount,” Lowete said.

Turkana Health Chief Officer Peter Lomorukai confirmed that 13 survivors were taken to the Lodwar County Hospital.

“Four of the injured were female adults, seven were male adults and two were children. They are in fairly good condition. The situation is under control,” he said.

Ms Nowel Grace, a teacher who was to report to Loitanit Primary School in Turkana North sub-county following her transfer, was to board the loaded lorry in Lodwar town for her maiden trip to the region but changed her mind.

“I inquired how long the journey would take and the driver said about 16 hours. I looked at the lorry and saw no comfortable space to sit. I knew it would be a tedious journey. I cancelled the trip and decided to travel the next day,” she said.

Turkana Central sub-county Police Commander Lemmy Njiru confirmed that the accident happened as the driver tried to avoid a camel. “The lorry was loaded, with people and luggage. It overturned and landed in a ditch,” Njiru said.

Area Woman Rep Cecilia Ngitit said the loss would have been averted if security officers ensured traffic rules were adhered to. “The lorry could not have been allowed to go past Kawalase Bridge with a huge load of goods and more than 50 people on board,” Ms Ngitit said.

The Standard
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