LAMU, Kenya, Sept 5 – Two thousand five hundred people were left homeless on Saturday after 410 houses were razed in a fire in Lamu’s remote Faza Island.
Special Programmes Assistant Minister Mohamud Ali told a press conference in Nairobi that the fire started at around 12:30 p.m. and might have been caused by faulty electrical appliances in one of the houses.
“Faza Island has got a total of 540 homes and about 80 percent of these homes were affected, thereby displacing 2,500 people,” he said and added that the fire took more than half an hour before it was put out blaming this on strong winds.
“The houses in the island are grass thatched, and the presence of strong Monsoon winds facilitated the spread of the fire,” he explained.
“The island is also in a very remote area and has no access to a fire brigades’ station,” noted Mr Mohamud.
The assistant minister also said that the government had dispatched two District Commissioners from Lamu and Red Cross personnel to the Island to assist the victims.
“They have taken charge of the situation and will do everything to control the situation and provide help where needed,” asserted he.
“We have also released food which will be available from the Mukoe depot in Lamu. We will go to the site tomorrow (Sunday) to ascertain the damage caused by the fire, and provide further assistance,” promised Mr Mohamud.
He also asked the government to provide civic education so as to equip residents of such remote places with knowledge that would help them know how to deal with such disasters.
“It’s a question of educating our people so that they exercise caution when dealing with fire,”
He also promised that the government was putting up measures that would control fire disasters all over the country as quickly as possible.
“We are in the process of distributing fire engines to various regions in the country,” he stated.
Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet also promised Faza residents that Red Cross had a local branch in Lamu with volunteers who would help in distributing relief aid to the victims.
“We have already distributed 600 blankets, utensils, clothing, temporary shelters and other basic necessities to the victims,”
“These are however short term solutions and we are asking Kenyans to donate items like iron sheets that will help the victims put up permanent shelters,” explained Mr Gullet.
He also said that people were traumatized and added that all the injured people were out of danger.