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June 21, 2018

Murang’a landslides disaster leaves 300 families in despair

One of the houses that has sunk due to earth movement in Kangema.
One of the houses that has sunk due to earth movement in Kangema.

Over 300 families have been displaced by landslides and fault lines that have formed across Murang’a county.

Some have been integrated with other families while others are being accommodated in schools.

According to Red Cross, over 300 more families have been affected by rains after their property was destroyed.

Areas most affected are Kangema, Mathioya, Kahuro and Kigumo subcounties where huge chunks of farms were swept away.

Kangema was most affected as large cracks formed across farms and destroyed houses.

An assessment by Red Cross has indicated some houses sunk while others were completely destroyed as the earth moved.

Mount Kenya Red Cross regional manager Gitonga Mugambi has said this has left many families stranded and dependent on well-wishers.

Mugambi said many houses have also been declared unfit for habitation in Gitugi village, Mathioya subcounty, and residents are now being hosted by their neighbours.

“Many of them have been left without a source of livelihood as tea and coffee bushes were swept away,” he said on Thursday.

LIVES AT RISK

Some families, Mugambi said, will be forced to find alternative land to build homes.

He urged the national and county governments to help families relocate and obtain land.

Mugambi said other than providing food, the organisation is also providing counselling.

“Some people who were doing very well in life have now been reduced to depending on relief and that has taken a toll on most of them,” he said.

Mugambi expressed concern some families have refused to relocate even though their houses have huge cracks and are falling apart.

He said those refusing to move are putting their lives at risk.

Five people died in separate incidents of landslides in Kahuro and Gitugi areas and scores of others were rescued after being trapped in the mud.

John Kihia, a Kangema resident, narrated how he found his house “hanging” one morning after part of his house came apart.

“My kitchen sunk and my main house developed major cracks, forcing me to move my family to my neighbour’s home,” he said.

Kihia said he now relies on help from his neighbours and other well-wishers.

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