Trans Nzoia: A 78-year-old woman dies in a stampede during food donation
By David Musundi
A family in Machewa sub-location of Trans Nzoia West Sub-county is grieving a 78-year-old grandmother who succumbed in a stampede as hundreds of residents surged for food aid donated by the National Government.
According to a witness, the 78-year-old Margaret Nekesa in her desperation for aid as hundreds forced their way to the area assistant chief’s office to get rations.
" My mother was badly injured in the stampede as crowds surged forward to get supplies of food from the National government, she could not escape and she managed to crawl in pain up to home while holding her carrier bag’’, said Everlyne Nabukwangwa.
The old woman was taken to Matunda Sub county Hospital and died while undergoing treatment
Another resident said many other people including children, men and women with one woman with her two twins sustaining injuries.
‘’ So many people were injured during the stampede," said one resident, Dennis Wambalaba.
"Both women and children have been injured. There is undeniable evidence including broken chairs and tables lying in the area assistant chief’s office. It is food these people were coming for since they didn’t want to die of hunger," added Mr.Wambalaba
The news of the death of the 78-year-old caught the attention area member of parliament Caleb Amisi who Friday asked the National government to treat his constituency the same way other slums of Kibra, Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Kawangware among others are being treated in terms of food distribution.
Speaking at the Trans Nzoia County Commissioner’s office when he launched a Ksh. 14 million food distribution exercise, the MP said many of his constituents in the rural constituency’s largest slums of Matisi, Tuwani, Mitume, Kipsongok, and Shanti are suffering from the effects of the curfew which has led to the closing of many businesses.
‘’ Many of the people living in informal slum areas with little or no savings made before the curfew are a worried lot since they can not afford food for themselves and their families. The best thing now is for the government to make available enough food supplies, water, medicine and other things necessary’’, said the MP.
He said he had pooled resources with his friends to avail food supplies worth Ksh. 14 million to complement the County and National governments’ efforts.
"We do not want to hear of chaos that have rocked other parts of this country during food distribution. It’s shameful foe people to fight over food, the case of the old woman in Machewa is so disheartening and should have been avoided", the MP added.
Area County Commissioner Sam Ojwang condoled with the family of the deceased and ordered food distributions to be availed to the people in a transparent manner.
"The careless manner in which the old woman died when the crowd who didn't care about government restrictions that were to stay 1 meter apart must not be allowed’’, he said.
Nekesa's family, including six children, hasn't been issued with any food despite being in the predicament she left them in given that the carrier bag she returned with is still visible to their eyes even after her burial.
Rights advocate Immaculate Shamala demanded that the family be compensated and the local assistant chief asked to account for the careless actions.