Father mourns two daughters swept away by Garissa floods

They were warned by their mother not to take the boat in the flood season.

In Summary

• But they were in a vehicle on their way to the dock and called as they boarded.

• It took the Coast Guard and divers almost four days to reach them.

Dubow Nur Gure on Thursday in Garissa town. His two daughters are still missing.
Dubow Nur Gure on Thursday in Garissa town. His two daughters are still missing.

The father of two girls who perished in the boat at Kona Punda on Garissa-Madogo Road can still not believe his daughters will no longer wake him up in the morning.

Ubah Dubow and Rithwan Dubow Noor are gone.

"Their mother had even warned them not come at this time of floods, but they called her on their way to Garissa in a private vehicle," Dubow Nur Gure said.

He said the girls were with their aunt who called their mother, updating her that they were waiting to board the boat.

The grieving father said that was the last conversation with their children. They came to learn that they had drowned from their aunt, who was rescued and taken to Madogo Health Centre

"Up to now, we know nothing about my daughters, and even worse, the police have completely refused let us to see the scene of accident," Gure said with tears running down his cheeks.

He decried the slow pace the rescue operations were moving, saying this only adds more stress and anxiety to the family.

"Almost four days after the incident, the government is finally bringing the Kenya Navy Coast Guard divers. Where were they all these days? In fact what was so difficult with the government bringing them earlier to help in ferrying people to both sides? Had they done that, this tragedy would have been avoided,” Gure said.

“Now that I am told they are on the ground, with fingers crossed I pray to God that they help in locating my daughters alive or dead. This issue has really taken a toll on our health. My wife is the most affected. It’s extremely painful,”

Ahmed Bathe Adan, former councillor, whose son was among those whose bodies were retrieved, blamed the government, saying they have neglected their duties of protecting Kenyans.

His son, Ibrahim Ahmed Bathi, 50, was with four children during the tragedy, but fortunately, the children were rescued to safety.

"We are only seeing the Kenya Red Cross running up and down. Where is the government machinery?" he asked.

Leaders in Garissa have continued to criticise the government's way of handling the situation.

The search and rescue team
The search and rescue team

Garissa Township MP Dekow Mohamed took issue with the pace at which the government was constructing the road that is the gateway to Northeastern.

“This disaster, recurring annually, is a stark reminder of our failure as a country to implement lasting solutions to protect the lives of Kenyans. It's time for action, not just promises. There must be accountability for delayed or lack of action,” he said.

"The Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) must be held accountable for the Sh1 billion emergency funds allocated during the El Niño rains. If Kenha did the recommended repairs on the part of the road that is cut off by the floods, this incident could have been avoided.”

ODM nominated MP Umulkheir Harun accused the government of not giving the Madogo tragedy as much attention as it did the Naivasha one.

While giving her submissions on the floor on the motion of adjournment, Umulkheir said it was wrong to treat residents from the region as second-class citizens.

“As a young person I keep on asking myself this question, 'When will we stop seeing the strategic marginalisation that we have been subjected to?' The Kenya Navy was deployed several days later to go and retrieve bodies. What are we going to do with bodies? I am asking for heads to roll,” she said.

Asal PS Kello Harsama on Wednesday.
Asal PS Kello Harsama on Wednesday.

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