‘We are digging victims out from mud with our bare hands after hours of waiting’

By , K24 Digital
On Sun, 19 Apr, 2020 19:17 | 2 mins read
flash floods
Residents of West Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties scoured the area hit by flash floods and mudslides to search for survivors. PHOTO | COURTESY
Residents of West Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties scoured the area hit by flash floods and mudslides to search for survivors. PHOTO | COURTESY

By Kintu Joseph

The rescue mission for mudslides and flash floods victims at Chesegon in West Pokot County is underway.

Four people have already been confirmed dead and over 20 reported missing while 25 who were injured are receiving treatment at Arpollo dispensary.

An area of 10 square kilometres was inundated by raging floods, with more than 350 households affected.

Chesegon trading centre was swept away while Chesegon Police Post, Chesegon Primary School, Cheptulel Boys and the proposes Chesegon Technical Training Institute and cattle dips are underwater.

So far, 15 people have been rescued and 2,500 displaced according to the Chesegon Chief Jamal Benjamin. 

Some of the Chesegon floods survivors are still stuck in the mud pleading for help.

Some of the police officers who were based at Chesegon Police Post survived the raging floods but with serious injuries.  

The police officers who spoke to K24TV said the raging floods pushed them 4km downstream until when they were rescued by locals early Sunday morning.

"The floods pushed us four kilometres from the police post. We survived by a whisker. Some of our colleagues are missing. We are pleading for help. We are in so much pain,” said one of the injured police officers.

Locals resorted to digging out some of the victims from the mud with their bare hands after hours of waiting for help from government officials.  

The residents said many survivors are in critical condition and the best they could do for them was lit fires and warm them.

But Kenya Red Cross volunteers are on the ground searching and identifying affected families. In addition, they are also offering psychological support through counselling for many of the victims.

There is a stand-by ambulance for the supply of non-food items.

Samson Lopolian, a local, said the roads have been cut off and they are forced to carry some of the victims on their backs to Arpollo health centre for treatment.

He said they rescued close to 15 people who survived and are calling for a police chopper to airlift the victims.

Lopolian said they are still searching for missing persons and they suspect the floods pushed them more than 20 kilometres downstream where it’s difficult to trace them.

"Some survived but they didn't have clothes. The raging waters unclothed them. They are in bad state we need the Government to rescue them," he said.

Some of the victims had their eyes gouged out, suffered broken ribs and can hardly stand up or walk.

Rift Valley Regional commissioner George Natembeya, Senate Majority Leader Kichumba Murkomen ,West Pokot Governor, John Lonyangapuo, Elgeyo-Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos and MPs Peter Lochakapong [Sigor], Bowen Kaangako [Marakwet East ] visited the area.