The National Government will foot all hospital bills and funeral expenses for landslide victims in West Pokot County, the area County Commissioner (CC), Apollo Okello has said.
Speaking on Sunday when he visited Nyarkulian Primary School camp in Pokot South Sub county, Okello said his office has compiled records of all the affected residents and added burial arrangements for 43 victims are underway.
“Currently the government is working on burial arrangements. The names of those who lost their lives have been forwarded to the Interior ministry in Nairobi and hopefully before the end of the week, all the bodies would have been buried,” said Okello.
He further appealed to people still living in areas prone to landslides to move to safer places and take precaution against flooding.
CC Okello fingered deforestation in surrounding hills as the possible cause of landslides noting rain water runs off bare slopes where vegetation cover has been cleared.
The administrator at the same time issued a stern warning to unscrupulous opportunists who were not affected by the disaster against taking advantage of the situation to collect food rations and non-food items from Nyarkualian , Parua and Paroo camps.
The three camps are accommodating more than 4,000 survivors whose houses were swept away by landslides and floods.
According to the Kenya Red Cross who are the lead agency on the ground in Nyarkulian, 52 households were most affected while 676 displaced; in Parua, 64 households most affected and 1,525 people displaced and in Paroo 50 most affected and 1,850 displaced. The people confirmed dead are 43.
“We have noted that most people who were not affected come to the camps during morning hours and leave in the evening after collecting beddings, utensils and food stuff that is meant for the victims. The population of the camps is high during the day while low at night,” he said.
He pointed out that Nyarkulian camp had received a lot of donations from different people and organizations, saying it was devastating to see some of the genuine victims not having beddings.
Okello who visited some of the homes that were buried by landslides said the Government had given out food and non-food items to the victims, especially those who lost everything.
“If you are not affected just stay in the safety of your home; why are you tormenting those who lost everything by taking what was meant for them. Some walk several kilometers to reach the school and grab the donations. It’s advisable you allow the affected to mourn peaceful,” he said.
“The government has supplied food and we have enough food for those whose houses were swept away by landslides; we will continue supplying them, we have given out utensils, blankets, camping tents and jikos among others,” he said.
Okello said the government has plans to relocate and settle the landslide victims to safer grounds.
“Construction of low cost houses for the survivors will start soon as we relook at how and where we will resettle all victims affected’, he said.
By John Saina