Rescuers: Pokot landslide d***h toll could rise to 100

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 10:00 | By
Residents of West Pokot and government officials cross flooded River  Ortum at Chepera Sigor bridge that connects the county to Turkana. Photo/PD/Jimmy Gitaka

The death toll following last weekend’s West Pokot landslide could rise to about 100 after rescuers said at least 48 bodies were still trapped in the soil.

So far, the government has put the number of those who died in the landslide at 52 and with reports of about 48 bodies still trapped in the mud, the figure could hit 100.

“The Kenya Red Cross personnel who are involved in the rescue and recovery operation have located the site where 48 bodies are trapped but are unable to retrieve them due to bad roads and mist that has engulfed the area following the Tuesday heavy rains,” said West Pokot Health Executive Geoffrey  Lipale .

The affected areas where Red Cross is focussing on are Pokot South, Sigor and Pkumo Sun, along the slope of the Valley.

Poor road network occasioned by continued rainfall in the county has hampered efforts by the  government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to distribute relief food and non-food items to more than 500 families that have been affected by the tragedy.

All the roads leading to areas where the displaced families are camping have been cut off after bridges were washed away by the raging floods, subjecting survivors to further suffering.

The families are camping in schools in Parua and Muino in Sibor constituency and Nyarkulian and Tamka in Pokot South.

Area Governor John Lonyangapuo has expressed concern that unless the affected families are supplied with necessary relief food, shelter and medicine,  they could lose their lives due to the pathetic conditions they are living in after their houses were washed away by the floods.

“We are appealing to the government to provide military choppers to airlift food and medical supplies to the far-flung areas which have become inaccessible since the landslide tragedy occurred on Saturday night,” he said.

The county chief said the most affected are children, expectant women and the elderly, who he said required urgent medical attention and food supply.

He said there is urgent need for the national and county governments to reconstruct key bridges that have been destroyed to facilitate the transportation of aid to the victims.

The pathetic state of the roads, Lonyangapuo said, has kept well-wishers from venturing into the interior parts of the county where some of the families are camping.

The Governor lauded the government for responding to their call to provide medical doctors to attend to patients in the areas where the displaced families have pitched camp. 

At the same time, TransNzoia county has come to the aid of  West Pokot by receiving some bodies of those who perished in the deadly landslide.

Lipale, theHealth Executive, said Kapenguria mortuary was overwhelmed by increased number of bodies that were retrieved from the site of the incident.

He said the local morgue which was constructed more than four decades ago can only accommodate 11 bodies and yet it was holding more than 20 bodies recovered from the scene of the tragedy.

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