Siaya: Recovery mission for Tom Okwach’s body stalls after county government delays release of funds

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 27 Jan, 2022 15:04 | 2 mins read
Work stalls at Ambimbo mine in Siaya county after work stalled due to lack of finance. PHOTO/COURTESY

Rescue operations at Abimbo mines, for the body of trapped miner Tom Okwach, has stalled due to lack of financial resources.

Most of the over 60 workers who had vowed to help recover the body of the miner have since abandoned the rescue mission due to a lack of finances to sustain their families.

The excavator that was hired by the government has also left the site after the county government failed to foot its bills.

The rescue committee is said to have set aside Ksh 6 million for the rescue operation but the county government is yet to release the money.

One of the workers at the site who sought anonymity said that workers who were part of the rescue team abandoned the job so that they can look for money to sustain their families.

"Those who were part of the programme have since abandoned it since no funds are coming from the government to support them yet they have families that depend on them," the worker said

The rescue committee led by their spokesperson Odhiambo Orido had appealed to the county government to consider pushing for the release of at least Ksh600,000 for those working in shifts to get Ksh 10,000 but that hit a snag.

Orido said if the resources would have been availed the job could be over.

"The people we had had forwent their daily duties so that they help the operation but as days went by, most of them gave up as their families needed their help," Orido said.

The county government was so active when the incident struck but it has since slowed down. The excavators have withdrawn as well as non-governmental organizations that offered to give us help," he added.

County Director of Disaster George Aola has, however, dismissed reports that workers have abandoned the site saying it’s the rains that saw it temporarily halted for some time but operations have since resumed.

“Work is going on though minimal,” Aola said.

On his side, the governor's chief of staff Joseph Omondi said that the county government will implement the funds as they had previously agreed.

“The budget had been approved by Cabinet and resources are available at the emergency kitty but would only be released once we have shared the issue with the governor,” said Omondi.