Siaya, Kenya: At least 1,000 students of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) have been forced to vacate their hostels after fire broke out yesterday morning.
Witnesses said the fire started on the right side of the 5th floor of the five-storey building a few minutes after 11am.
The university's Public Relations Officer Osir Oteng', told The Standard the fire was discovered by some university staff working near the hostel before they raised alarm.
"This prompted quick intervention from the university administration which mobilised the students in trying to put the fire off," said Mr Oteng'.
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Oteng' said it was only after a long struggle that the fire was finally contained by a water boozer owned by a local businessman, about 30 minutes before a fire brigade from Kisumu arrived at the scene.
Vice Chancellor Stephen Agong' said the incident occurred when students were out for lessons at the main campus.
"We are yet confirm the scope of loss incurred because a damage assessment is yet to be conducted by the ministry of public works," said Prof Agong.
Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda appealed to Siaya County government to put in place proper emergency management strategies to curb such losses in future.
"It is quite unfortunate that a fire engine that was donated to the county government three years ago cannot work due to lack of trained personnel. We are therefore calling on them to find a way of making it operational to be able to assist during such calamities," said Dr Ochanda.
This is second incident of a fire break out at the institution. The first incident happened last year when fire gutted down the ladies' hostel.
Meanwhile 1000 bright and needy pupils who sat for last year's Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination in Ugunja sub-county have a reason to smile after the local Constituency Development Funds (CDF) committee accepted to pay for their secondary education.
Among those who got the grant are total and partial orphans and the needy who scored between 300-380 marks and whose fees will be paid in full.
The list includes 39 pupils who had been admitted to national schools.
Although CDF management had set aside funds to support 29 students admitted to national schools, the number was overwhelming causing them to increase the allocation from the initial Sh67000 to Sh915000.
Some 473 girls and 545 boys benefited from the kitty.
The committee spent Sh4.3 million to pay for 664 children who had been admitted to both county and sub-county schools.
Ugunja CDF set aside more than Sh13 million to support the needy children in the constituency to pursue both secondary and higher education.
Funds have been allocated to those who cannot afford both university and tertiary education. A total of 279 students benefited from Sh2.4 million shillings set aside to support their education.
Ugunja MP James Wandayi said the committee will sit today to select another batch of children to benefit from the Sh1.5 million which is still in reserve.
The MP said for the success of the exercise, the criteria for selection involves various personalities such as chiefs, church leaders, teachers and education officials.
"We intend to uplift the standards of education because it is from this that economic growth can easily be achieved," said Mr Wandayi.