By Joseph Kintu
At least 24 people are feared dead after floods and mudslides hit Nyarkulian, Muino and Parua Villages in West Pokot County on Friday night.
West Pokot County Commissioner, Apollo Okello, told K24 Digital he has established that at least 24 people are missing, “with a high probability that they have lost their lives”.
Apollo said seven people belonging to one family were buried alive in Nyarkulian Village in Pokot South Friday night, whereas 17 others were buried alive in Muino area in Pokot Central.
Tens, who were critically injured and rescued, were taken to Kapenguria County Referral Hospital for emergency care.
Body retrieval operation and rescue of survivors is ongoing.
The three villages and areas in their vicinity experienced heavy rainfall on Friday night.
Roads leading to Nyarkulian and Muino have been rendered impassable, posing a big challenge to security officers, who had been deployed to assist in the body retrieval and survivors’ rescue mission.
“We are striving to reach all the affected areas, but the roads are in very poor state, making it extremely hard to access those areas,” said Okello.
“The number of those killed and those injured by the mudslides could rise, given the whereabouts of many people remain unknown,” he said.
Area Governor, Prof. John Lonyangapuo, and a security team that was heading to the affected areas, were stranded at River Muruny Bridge on the Kitale–Lodwar Highway, which has been cut off by the floods.
Lonyangapuo described the mudslide aftermath as “the worst tragedy” to have hit West Pokot County.
The county chief urged the Kenya Army and the Kenya Red Cross Society to help the affected families by erecting tents to accommodate them.
Nicholas Kibet, a resident of Muruny area, said that the heavy rainfall started at mid-night.
“It rained continuously for 12 hours. We could not get out of our houses,” said Kibet, who fears that several of his neighbours could have died in the mudslides.