DEATH TRAPS

Villagers want gaping soapstone quarries filled to avert deaths

However, state officials said it will be difficult to secure the mines as they are on private farms.

In Summary

•One digger died on the spot while the other succumbed as he underwent treatment at Tabaka Mission Hospital.

•Tabaka MCA Daniel Apepo said he had called on some officers in the county to respond to the residents cries in vain.

A curio dealer tends to her products at a shop in Tabaka, Kisii county
A curio dealer tends to her products at a shop in Tabaka, Kisii county
Image: MAGATI OBEBO

Villagers of Nyabigena in South Mugirango in Kisii want the government to rehabilitate abandoned quarries in the area to avert further tragedies.

The appeal comes days after two diggers died after the quarry they were working in collapsed, burying them alive on Friday.

One digger died on the spot while the other succumbed as he underwent treatment at Tabaka Mission Hospital.

Two other diggers were rescued from the rubble and were rushed to hospital for treatment. One survivor has already been discharged.

Doctors said the other was also out of danger and will be discharged any time this week. On Friday, Tabaka Sub County Commissioner Samuel Towett said the government had already suspended mining at all soapstone quarries following the heavy rains pounding the region.

However, Towet said it will be difficult to secure the mines as they are on private farms.

"We had given alert that we have entered that critical moment when quarries cave in and bury miners because of rains. It is sad that some just defy such alerts leading to this," he told journalists. 

On Sunday, the villagers said they want the government to seal many of the gaping quarries in the area to stop such deaths.

"There are countless quarries that had since been abandoned and we urge the government to bring machines and seal them. There will be similar incidents if we won't have them filled up," said John Apunda.

Tabaka MCA Daniel Apepo said he had called on some officers in the county to respond to the residents cries in vain.

"There was a death in this quarry a year ago and I asked officers in the relevant department to bring a grader here to help fill it up. I even volunteered to pay for it but sadly it was taken to another region because of some political expediency. How long are people going to be killed before someone takes responsibility to fill these holes up?" posed Apepo.

The use of rude implements by the diggers, he said, adds more risk to the mining activities in the area.