Three families in Murang’a County who were displaced after a landslide 16 months ago, are still living in a rescue camp despite numerous promises to relocate them.
The families from Mathioya Sub County were displaced in April 2018 after their houses among other properties were completely demolished by a landslide.
The victims who hail from Kahwai village are still living at Gitugi Youth Polytechnic compound where they were hosted after the midnight disaster that left one old man dead.
Speaking to the press on Saturday, the affected families decried the untold suffering they have had to endure at the camp, as they said they are forced to live in makeshift structures without engaging in any economic activity.
They said the government had promised to get them another piece of land after their former homes were turned into gullies by the landslide.
“We have been waiting for long to get assistance and move from this camp, since here we are straining and cannot earn a living,” said one of the victims, James Maina.
Meanwhile, other victims of the disaster got assistance from the Red Cross and their destroyed houses were rebuilt but the three families were only promised relocation to a safer area.
Maina said since then they have been depending on well-wishers to give them food among other basic needs adding that even the education of their children has greatly been affected by the poor living conditions at the camp.
“Here every family is given a small room which is not adequate to live in with children. We are just struggling as we wait for the government to get us an alternative area to resettle,” added Maina.
Yet another victim, Joseph Njoroge and a father of five painfully narrated how his wife left him as they could not live comfortably in a makeshift structure.
He called on the government to give them monies to enable them get another piece of land as their former homes were inhabitable.
Mary Wambui, who was rescued by her two young boys at the time of the incident claimed that many organizations and well-wishers had promised to assist them get another piece of land but nothing was forthcoming.
Wambui recalled that during the episode she was almost swept away by mudslide save for her two brave boys who rescued her from the debris.
“Our home was completely destroyed and we lost an uncle during the incident. Going back to rebuild there would be putting our lives at risk,” claimed Wambui.
On his part, Ahadi Kenya Trust Executive Director Dr. Stanley Kamau has faulted organizations handling disaster management in the country saying they have taken long to resettle the families.
Speaking while donating a dairy cow to the two boys who rescued their mother at the time of the landslide, Kamau observed that the families have been depending on support from well-wishers which is not always forthcoming.
He called for devolvement of the disaster management unit to the counties so that Kenyans who find themselves in a similar predicament can get assistance much faster.
“If it was not possible to get land, residents and community leaders can be mobilized to fundraise and get these families another place to call home.
Staying in the camp for that long period is greatly affecting them especially the school going children,” said Kamau who also donated food to the families.
By Bernard Munyao