41 bodies of the Londiani crash victims identified as mortuary struggles with high death toll

Wreckage of a matatu that was involved in a tragic accident at Londiani junction on July 1, 2023.At least 53 people lost their lives.[Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A total of 41 of the 53 bodies of victims of the Londiani junction traffic accident kept at the Kericho County Hospital mortuary have been identified.

The county executive committee member in charge of Heath's docket Brenda Bii expressed confidence that the remaining 11, badly mutilated bodies would also be identified by their grieving families.

“Anyone with useful information to reach out to Londiani hospital, where body identification and contact tracing efforts are currently underway,” she said.

She further revealed that they were expecting a pathologist dispatched by the national government to arrive at the hospital soon.

This happens as the county government moved to enforce an order by Governor Eric Mutai to remove all roadside traders from the highway.

A contingent of security personnel joined the county enforcement team in enforcing the order.

Dr. Mutai had on Saturday issued a directive following the tragic accident.

He highlighted the issue of traders occupying the road in Kapkelek along the Kericho-Litein road on market days, despite the county's provision of a designated piece of land for market purposes.

He emphasized the need for them to relocate their businesses to that area, stating, "We require them to henceforth leave the road and move their business there."

Meanwhile, Jethro Koech, the South Rift Red Cross regional manager, highlighted the collaborative efforts between the organization's Restore Family Links desk and the personnel at Londiani hospital.

"After completing all the necessary procedures, including postmortem examinations, 16 bodies have been released upon the request of bereaved families who opted to move the bodies to other mortuaries," said.

In a tragic development, the number of casualties from the Londiani accident has surpassed the capacity of the recently constructed Londiani sub-county hospital.

The Londiani sub-county hospital's mortuary, which was designed to accommodate 16 bodies, found itself grappling with an overwhelming number of fatalities.

Under the administration of Mutai, the mortuary's construction was nearing completion when it faced an unprecedented surge in demand.

Previously, the hospital, located in Londiani ward, had to transport bodies to various facilities such as the Kericho County Hospital mortuary and Molo Sub County Hospital mortuary, as it lacked its own morgue.

Bii revealed that while 16 bodies were transferred to the morgue at  Londiani sub-county hospital, the situation necessitated the deployment of 100 mobile morgue cargo units provided by the Kenya Red Cross.

The additional resource proved vital in managing the overwhelming number of bodies from the accident scene.

Bii expressed her gratitude for the assistance rendered by the Red Cross.

"The Red Cross came in handy to assist the hospital in preserving the overwhelming number of bodies from the accident scene," She said.

Koech mentioned that the Red Cross provided 20 body bags to aid in the management of the deceased.

 “Two of the bags have been utilized,” he said.

Apart from the Kericho County Hospital Mortuary, other public mortuaries are located in distant areas such as Kapkatet and Sigowet sub-county hospitals.

 Bii also highlighted the strain faced by the county's only three morticians, who had to work tirelessly to handle the influx of bodies.

"We appeal to more residents to consider becoming morticians in order to support grieving families during such tragic events," she said.

The Londiani road accident shed light on the urgent need for the expedited construction of the proposed Londiani referral hospital.

Mutai announced that his administration had allocated 100 acres of land for this project.

"We hope that the national government would assist in constructing the hospital, with the inauguration expected to take place during the Mashujaa Day Celebrations, officiated by President William Ruto," he said.

The commencement of construction is poised to put an end to the controversies surrounding the project's location.

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