Caution after three p****e perish following gold pit cave-in in Pokot

Thursday, November 24th, 2022 09:50 | By
Gold mine collapses in West Pokot PHOTO/Courtesy

Residents in landslide and flood-prone areas in West Pokot County have been urged to be cautious after three people were buried alive after a gold mine collapsed on Tuesday evening.

The deceased Chepurai Loyole, Chepokopil Louyolan and Chesoton Lotobo from Naurien and Katumwonoi villages met their deaths when they were excavating gold at Nyelnyel village during the 6pm incident.

Pokot Central Police boss Nelson Omwenga and Pokot Central Deputy County Commissioner Jeremiah Tumoh Koech who toured the scene of the incident said heavy rains pounding the region was exposing residents to landslides and floods.

 “We call on residents in low lands to move to higher grounds while those excavating gold to stop until rains subside to evert more disasters. Our people should look for alternative ways of survival,” said Omwenga.

According to the administrator, hunger has pushed residents into gold mining despite being a dangerous venture.

“We urge residents to engage in other businesses rather than engaging in mining gold,” said Omwenga.

Two other people who sustained injuries are recuperating at Sigor sub-county hospital, according to Omwenga.

People Daily established that the deceased were 15 feet deep while the two rescued were above the pit.

Koech said men in the region have become providing for their families, exposing women to danger.

The bodies of the women aged between 20 to 32 years were retrieved from the rubble by locals.

“The pits are dangerous. We could only reach the victims and bodies using traditional mining tools such as drills. Women visit the gold mines on a daily basis as a way of earning a living,” said, Farah Murilla, a resident.

Many areas of West Pokot County are prone to floods and landslides which has claimed dozens of lives in the recent past. In 2019, 52 people lost their lives in Nyarkulian, Muino and Parua  after they were swept off by raging landslides.

Residents in flood and landslide prone areas in the North Rift have been put on high alert as heavy rains continue to pound the region.

 Rift Valley geologists led by Senior Geologist Enock Kipseba who toured Baringo County which is among counties in the region in great danger urged residents living in areas such as Kabasis and Timboiywo to be extra cautious.

 Also under threat of mudslides is Kerio Valley in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, according to the geological department. Kipseba urged residents in the landslide prone area to move to safety whenever they notice landslide signs such as cracks or water springs near their homes to avert more disasters.

According to the experts, population pressure is one of the factors, which has forced residents to cultivate on steep areas which has contributed to the recent spate of landslides.

“Our statistics have shown that about 80 percent of the areas affected by the landslides were bare and lacked vegetation or no soil conservation measures put in place,” said Kipseba.

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