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Family in agony as five relatives still missing after Huruma tragedy

By Protus Onyango | May 4th 2016
Yvonne Achieng with her son Garvin Juma in this file photo from the family. Garvin is among those who are missing after the Huruma tragedy. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

The wait has been long and agonising for Yvonne Achieng who can't locate her five relatives after the collapse of the Huruma building.

For Achieng, 26, who works at United Aryan EPZ Ltd in Ruaraka, Friday night was just a normal night for her.

"I was on night shift that week and left home on a motorbike at 6.30pm," recalls Achieng, who was expected to report for work by 7pm.

Because of noise made by machines at her workplace, she noticed missed calls from her family members and friends at 9.30pm.

"I was confused and thought something was wrong. But I was able to receive my other friend's call who wanted me to tell him if I knew something about the collapsed building in Huruma," Achieng says.

She wasn't sure so she called a friend near Metameta in Huruma close to where she lived.

Her friend confirmed to her that it was the house where she was living that had collapsed.

"I was shaken but my colleagues encouraged me to stay clam and seek for more information before I left for home because it was late at night," Achieng says.

She took a motorbike home and joined other people to wait for their relatives to be rescued from the collapsed building.

"I learnt when the house collapsed, it had four children, my mother and sister. The children were aged 12 years, 11, eight and six. The one aged six is my son. The other two are my sister's kids and the 11-year-old is my cousin's son whom my mother takes care of," Achieng says.

Her mother is aged 52 years old while her sister, who works with her at Aryan, is 29. She leaves her children with the mother when she goes to work and picks them up after work.

As moments passed by and more people were being rescued, Achieng' became impatient.

"I was joined by my cousin Kelvin Otieno, 28, and when we didn't see our people among the survivors, the paramedics advised us to check at Mama Lucy, Guru Nanak and Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH)," Achieng narrates.

They hired a taxi and went to the three hospitals but found none of their relatives.

"At KNH, doctors told us to try Blue House Hospital in Eastleigh because that is where children were being taken. There, we found my cousin's son who has scratches at 2am and doctors said he was out of danger and we could go home with him," Akinyi says.

But since she had no place to take the child, she pleaded with the hospital management to let him sleep there as she looked for a solution.

Achieng went back to the accident scene but still there was no sight of her relatives. Her, together with her cousin, again set off for the hospitals.

"We have gone to Huruma Nursing Home, Kiambu County Hospital, City Mortuary and Marura but our people were not there," says Achieng, who is now at Starehe CDF Social Hall in Huruma, keeping her fingers crossed.

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