Food supply to landslide victims stopped after truck overturns

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 21:02 |
Residents attempt to cross collapsed Marich bridge yesterday. Photo/PD/JIMMY GITAKA

The government has put on hold transportation of relief supplies to landslide victims in Pokot Central after a lorry carrying a consignment of foodstuff overturned and destroyed a bridge on the Kitale- Lodwar highway.

Pokot Central MP Peter Lochakapong ,in whose area the truck was ferrying the food, said the landslide victims will be subjected to more suffering unless urgent measures are put in place to repair the bridge.

The truck overturned in the middle of Marich bridge, and the MP said that is the only route leading to where displaced families are camping.

He added that the more time it takes for the government to repair it, the more the families will continue to suffer in the more than 20 dilapidated camps.

“I am calling on the government through the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) to move with speed and repair the bridge to facilitate transportation of foodstuff to the landslide victims along the valley,” said Lochakapong.

Distress call

He accused KeNHA of taking too long to respond to their distress call in the wake of an emergency that has hit the county following the death of 100 people in the tragedy.

The MP said lack of coordination between the county and national governments was to blame for the slow pace of repair work on bridges in the area that were washed away by the raging floods.

He said repair works currently being undertaken at  Ortum and Sebit bridges, which were cut off  by the rains, was shoddy and  disaster-in-waiting.

 “There is no close supervision on the two projects by the roads authority and the county. In the event another flood occurs, the bridges will be washed away due to poor workmanship,” said Lochakapong.

The truck was destined to Muino area to deliver the food supply to more than 5,000 families camping at a public primary school where they were secured by the government following last Saturday’s incident.

The area lost 30 people among them children in the landslide which swept away houses, livestock and some schools.

Meanwhile, area governor John Lonyangapuo has received a consignment of food items, blankets and mattresses from the business community from Kapenguria and Kitale towns to help the displaced families.

Lonyangapuo said the main challenge the county is facing  is the bad roads which have scaled down their efforts to reach  the affected families who are starving out in the cold.

Elsewhere, residents of Mai Mahiu and Moi Ndabi in Naivasha have been put on high alert following the ongoing heavy rains pounding parts of the country.

According to the Naivasha disaster management committee the two regions are prone to flooding.

Naivasha sub-county commissioner Mathioya Mbogo said they are monitoring the situation and have put mitigation measures in place.

He said they had placed residents of Moi Ndabi and Mai Mahiu on high alert due to past experience of flooding in the areas.

Addressing the press in his office after chairing the committee, Mathioya said  fault lines were a common phenomenon whenever it heavily rained.

“At the moment we have not recorded any ugly incident but we are calling on families near fault lines to move further away for their safety,” he said.

He called on drivers mainly in the rural areas, to exercise caution when driving past flooded seasonal rivers and cautioned of dangerous raging floods.

Rescue team

The Kenya Red Cross Society said  it has since activated its rescue team on the ground and was monitoring the situation. County coordinator John Mwikabe said they had over 18,000 volunteers in all the sub-counties who are ready to act in case of any incident.

Mwikabe said they had enough non-food items for use, and  they were working closely with the county government.

“We have engaged our response team on the ground who are furnishing us with daily updates as we don’t want to be caught by surprise,” he said.

He added that the only incident reported to their office was in Molo last week where a perimeter wall collapsed due to the heavy rains injuring a family member.

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