Grief engulfed Mwakale village in Wundanyi sub-county in Taita-Taveta after a 15-month old baby died on Sunday after being buried alive by a mudslide following heavy rainfalls pounding the region.
Speaking to KNA on Monday, the Wundanyi Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), David Kiprop said the baby was pulled from the debris and rushed to the hospital but died from excessive bleeding.
“We tragically lost a baby to mudslide. That is one life too many to lose and we are still telling people to move away from the potentially dangerous zones to safe areas,” he said.
He said residents in risky hilly areas have been urged to shift to secure zones to avoid loss of life and property.
The administrator said the government has been issuing several warnings of possible landslides in many villages and hundreds of residents had started moving to secure areas.
Amongst the areas being closely monitored include Werugha, Kitukunyi, Shighalo, parts of Wumingu and Mbale.
Chiefs, their assistants and village elders have been urging the local residents to move to safe areas to avoid disasters associated with heavy rainfall.
Wundanyi sub-county is characterized by hilly terrain that is considered precarious especially when it rains heavily. There are reports that the situation has been compounded by destruction of roads by the waters.
In Sungululu, dozens of families have been rendered homeless after a massive mudslide devastated their houses on Saturday night.
Moses Mwanake, a resident, said he lost his house and everything in it and was appealing for humanitarian aid. Ms. Agnes Righa of Ndonga village, whose house was destroyed, said they were lucky to escape with their lives.
“It is bad. We lost everything we had but we are glad to be alive,” she said.
Over the weekend, a leaders meeting attended by the area MP, Danson Mwashako and security team resolved to work together to convince local residents on the importance of moving to safer zones.
Kiprop said over 90 per cent of the residents in the targeted areas have complied.
“Only a few people are still left in the marked areas but we are engaging them on the merits of moving. It is for their own good,” he said.
There are fears that the continued rains will see excessive flooding in lower zones of Voi, Taveta and Mwatate with officials warning people to keep off swollen rivers.
The Red Cross County Coordinator, Joram Oranga said they were monitoring the situation in several locations and were ready to move in to help when needed.
By Wagema Mwangi