KHRC faults state over resettlement of Mai Mahiu flood victims

An Aerial view of the area swept away by raging waters of Kijabe Dam at Maai Mahiu in Nakuru county on April 29, 2024. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has raised concerns over the planned resettlement of victims of Mai Mahiu flash floods tragedy.

The commission accused the government of forcing the families from two camps into rented houses without offering a lasting solution.

The government has closed the last two camps that were hosting the families and offered them three-month rent despite some of the victims rejecting the move.

KHRC Deputy Executive Director Cornelius Oduor, said the resettlement was marred with uncertainty and fears that the government would not meet its obligations.

Oduor regretted that a month after the incident, some of the victims have been forced to return to their damaged houses while others have moved into rental houses.

“The three-month rent that they have been given is not enough and the government should fast-track the promise of resettling them away from their former homes,” he said.

Speaking in Mai Mahiu, the KHRC Deputy Executive Director said there were claims that the list of the victims had been tampered with by the administrators with genuine families left out.

He revealed that the commission had filed a case in court seeking compensation for the families that were affected by the tragedy.

“Kenya Railways should be held accountable for failing to clear the waterway which led to water building up before flooding the homes and killing over 60 people,” he said.

One of the victims, Eunice Wanjiru whose home was damaged said that their family was missing from the list of beneficiaries despite losing property.

“My mother who was traumatised by the incident had to be relocated from this place and we have never benefited from anything from the government,” she said.

Naftali Gikonyo said there was uncertainty over their resettlement after all the camps were closed down and the families moved to rental houses.

“The government said that it had set aside Sh300 million for our resettlement and no one is talking about that and we are wondering what will happen next,” she said.

Mary Muthoni who lost eight kin said that she arrived home from hospital to find that her family had been taken to a rental house in Mai Mahiu town.

“We have continued to receive so much support from well-wishers and we thank them for the love but unfortunately all we are getting from the government is promises,” she said.