Oguna puts Pokot death toll at 43, contradicts governor
Winstone Chiseremi and KNA
Government Spokesman Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna has clarified that the death toll from West Pokot landslide tragedy was 43 contrary to media report that put the figure at 52.
Addressing the press at the county headquarters in Kapenguria town yesterday, Oguna claimed only 1,500 people were affected by landslide in the region.
This is contrary to the figure given by the area governor John Lonyangapuo of between 80,000 and 120,000 people.
While addressing the media at his residence on Monday, Lonyangapuo said the most hit areas are Parua, Nyarkulian and Muino which are situated in Pokot South and Pokot Central represented in Parliament by David Pkosing and Peter Lochakapong respectively.
Notably, the county government leadership led by Governor John Lonyangapuo gave Oguna’s media briefing a wide berth. Contacted, a senior official at the governor’s office said his boss was not aware of the Government Spokesman’s arrival and mission in the county, adding that the county boss was not invited for the media briefing.
“The governor is not aware about the Government Spokesperson’s presence in Kapenguria town and he is surprised to hear that he is around. Let Oguna finish his mission and the county government will counter his statement later,” said the official who declined to be named.
However, Oguna and Lonyangapuo later met and went to access damage caused by the rains on bridges in the county.
Lonyangapuo, who has been appealing for assistance, on Wednesday dismissed as a joke aid from the National government, saying his people have yet to see any meaningful response.
On Monday, Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i accompanied by his Devolution counterpart Eugene Wamalwa and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, cancelled a tour of the area citing bad weather.
Ironically, on the same day Deputy President William Ruto landed in the area with medicine and food for the landslide victims sparking a debate on the commitment of the National government’s response to the calamity.
“The National government has already put in place adequate intervention measures to cushion the affected from effects of last Saturday’s night the tragedy,” said Oguna, who was accompanied by County Commissioner Apollo Okello.
He said the government has set aside foodstuff and non-food items that will be delivered to the affected families who are hosted in various camps in Pokot South and Pokot Central.
Oguna said the government has already deployed a team of 40 health specialists from Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret to help victims of the landslides and floods. Oguna sought to assure that the government will rebuild the destroyed infrastructure.
Meanwhile, six people have perished from flood-related incidences in Machakos since the start of the ongoing rains according to statistics obtained from the Kenya Red Cross.
Area Red Cross coordinator Susan Syombua said the figures only cover cases reported to her office and therefore the number could be higher.
Elsewhere, at least 1,000 families who were displaced by floods after River Tana burst its banks are yet to receive food supplies.
Mororo Chief Mohamed Abdallah said the camps have been connected to running water and toilets but added that the victims urgently required food and non-food items.