TUESDAY MORNING

Fire destroys ten houses on Kizingiti island

The families have appealed for help to rebuild their thatched houses

In Summary

• It took several hours to contain the fire because the Island does not have fire fighting equipment and residents only used water and sand. 

• Kizingitini is home to about 15,000 people.

Houses razed by fire on Kizingitini island on Tuesday morning.
FIRE: Houses razed by fire on Kizingitini island on Tuesday morning.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

Ten houses were destroyed on Tuesday after a fire broke out in Kizingiti Island, Lamu East.

No casualties were reported in the 2am incident.

Lamu county disaster management unit officer in charge Shee Kupi said the fire spread because the houses are thatched with makuti grass.

The cause of the fire was not immediately established, however, there were claims drug addicts could have started it.

It took several hours to contain the fire because the island does not have fire fighting equipment and residents only used water and sand o extinguish it. 

Kizingitini is home to about 15,000 people.

Kupi said the affected families will receive aid from the county disaster office.

Police are investigating the cause of the fire.

Houses burnt on Kizingitini Island.
NO SHELTER: Houses burnt on Kizingitini Island.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

The families were unable to salvage anything and watched as their property went up in flames.

Kizingitini elder Khaldun Vae faulted the county government for failing to establish a fire station on the island despite its increasing population.

“There are over 800 houses here, mostly makuti-thatched. That makes it hard to put out a fire. People have lost property of unknown value,” Vae said.

“The county should consider setting up fire stations in these islands."

The families have appealed for help to rebuild their homes.

Fires are not new to Kizingitini Island.

In September 2015, nine houses were razed by fire.

The biggest fire was on September 5, 2009, on Faza Island where more than 400 houses were burnt, 2,500 people homeless.

That fire was caused by an unattended jiko. It spread through the grass and makuti-thatched houses, destroying more than 80 per cent of the dwellings on the tiny island.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris