LANDSLIDE TRAGEDY

West Pokot survivors say some relatives still missing

Grief-stricken father says he is still being tormented by the wails of the two children crying for help as they were being swept away

Boniface Poghisio (R) who lost his entire family in West Pokot landslide
Image by JESSICAH NYABOKE
In Summary

• Seven other families have also not found their loved ones, who they suspect were buried under the debris.

• KVDA donated food and non-food items worth more than Sh700,000.

A man who lost two children in the West Pokot landslide tragedy says a search for one of the bodies has borne no fruit.

William Domokira, however, added that the recovery teams have been supportive. 

"We managed to retrieve the body of one child from the debris, but the other is still missing to date, which is very painful. If only I can get the body of my child to bury, I would be at peace knowing they are no more," he said.

The grief-stricken father of four said he is still being tormented by the wails of the two children crying for help as they were being swept away.

"I instinctively managed to save two from the rushing sludge, but hopelessly heard the wails from the other two as they were washed into the dark raging waters."

Seven other families have also not found their loved ones, who they suspect were buried under the debris.

On Thursday, the families thanked the government and the Red Cross for their quick response after the tragedy. They spoke after receiving aid from the Kerio Valley Development Authority.

Nyarkulian, Parua and Muino villages were ruined by the landslide, which has so far claimed the 43 lives (according to the government) and displaced more than 22,000 families. West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo, however, puts the death toll at 53 people.

KVDA donated food and non-food items worth more than Sh700,000. It also handed over Sh10,000 to each of the nine families that were worst hit in Muino. They are camping at Paroo Primary School.

KVDA director Philip Rotino, who was accompanied by KVDA acting managing director Sammy Naporos, urged the government to consider settling affected families in other areas so they heal from the trauma.

 
 

"If the government can find alternative land to resettle the victims, it would go a long way in assisting in the healing processes as the survivors rebuild their lives," Rotino said.

Naporos sought to assure Sigor residents that KVDA will rebuild water facilities that were wrecked at Weiwei irrigation scheme to restore supply to Weiwei and Sigor trading centres and three learning institutions in the area.

"The irrigation scheme is a vital economic lifeline for the people of the affected villages. As part of our contribution to helping the people revert to normalcy, KVDA will repair the water intake and the irrigation structures within the next one week to restore water services," he said.

(Edited by F'Orieny)

William Domikira receives blankets from acting KVDA director Sammy Naporos at Paro Primary School
William Domikira receives blankets from acting KVDA director Sammy Naporos at Paro Primary School
Image: JESSICAH NYABOKE