Dam owner pledges help for vic­tims

Pa­tel fam­ily says it will help re­build the lives of the com­mu­nity af­fected by tragedy

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - BY ERIC MATARA Ematara@ke.na­tion­media.com AND PETER MBURU pm­buru@ke.na­tion­media.com

Uhuru has an­nounced the gov­ern­ment will sup­port the af­fected fam­i­lies

The owner of So­lai dam, which caused the death of 47 peo­ple af­ter its walls col­lapsed, has pledged to sup­port the com­mu­nity that was af­fected by the tragedy.

In a state­ment is­sued yes­ter­day, the Pa­tel fam­ily con­doled with the be­reaved fam­i­lies and promised to sup­port them to re­build their lives.

So­lai Group Chair­man Man­sukh Pa­tel said the fam­ily con­tin­ues to ad­dress im­me­di­ate hu­man­i­tar­ian con­cerns, pro­vid­ing food, clean drink­ing wa­ter, health­care and ba­sic house­hold es­sen­tials to sur­vivors as in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the cause of the tragedy con­tinue.

This comes a day af­ter Pres­i­dent Uhuru Kenyatta an­nounced that the gov­ern­ment will con­tinue sup­port­ing the fam­i­lies and other flood vic­tims in the coun­try to re­build their lives.

Pres­i­dent Kenyatta made the an­nounce­ment on Wed­nes­day dur­ing a prayer ser­vice at the So­lai Africa In­land Church grounds, when he led the na­tion in mourn­ing the vic­tims.

The Pa­tel fam­ily yes­ter­day ex­pressed com­mit­ment to work to­gether with the na­tional and county au­thor­i­ties to re­build what has been lost. “We ap­pre­ci­ate the Pres­i­dent’s en­cour­age­ment and the grace with which the gov­ern­ment and NGOS have han­dled the sit­u­a­tion,” read the state­ment, is­sued through Ms Lena Gatabaki.

Ac­cord­ing to the state­ment, heavy rains that have been pound­ing the area were to blame for the burst­ing of the dam’s banks.

“In re­cent weeks, our com­mu­nity has been af­fected by this tragedy. We can’t change the tragic loss but, to­gether, we can ease the pain and pre­vent fur­ther loss. Chil­dren are greatly af­fected, so are the fam­i­lies who have been left be­hind to deal with the tragedy,” it read.

“The Pa­tel fam­ily of­fers their deep­est and most heart­felt sym­pa­thies to the So­lai com­mu­nity, and to all the fam­i­lies and friends of those who died,” it added.

The fam­ily said it has adopted a mul­ti­pronged ap­proach of res­cue, re­lief and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

“We will help clear fu­neral and med­i­cal ex­penses. Our next step is to de­velop a sus­tain­able re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion sys­tem for the com­mu­nity in which we in­tend to re­build all the de­stroyed houses within a month, pro­vide ba­sic house­hold needs and restart farm op­er­a­tions since most of those af­fected are farm work­ers,” the state­ment

fur­ther said.

The fam­ily made the an­nounce­ment as the af­fected fam­i­lies con­tin­ued pick­ing up the pieces. About 5,000 fam­i­lies, who were left home­less and are camp­ing at So­lai Boys’ High School, con­tin­ued to re­ceive donations yes­ter­day.

Sa­fari­com also came to the aid of the vic­tims af­ter it an­nounced that it will fund the con­struc­tion of So­lai Nyakinyua Pri­mary School, which was swept away by rag­ing wa­ters.

Sa­fari­com’s Rift Val­ley Head of Depart­ment Vic­tor Ngumo said: “We will con­struct class­rooms, an ablu­tion block, buy fur­ni­ture, among other things, to help learn­ers re­sume stud­ies.”

AYUB MUIYURO | DAILY NA­TION

Rel­a­tives and friends of the Pa­tel dam tragedy vic­tims mourn dur­ing a burial ser­vice in So­lai, Nakuru County, on Wed­nes­day.

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