, NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 12 – The painful scars, an empty space and the never ending pain of loss are a constant reminder of the September 12, 2011 morning incident that changed their lives forever.
“Sinai fire” was the name given to the tragedy that saw over 100 people perish and hundreds left homeless at Nairobi’s Lunga Lunga industrial area, which is dominated by densely packed tin-shack housing of the Sinai slum.
The fire occurred when residents were siphoning fuel from a leaking pipeline.
Thursday marked two years since the incident and most victims came together at the scene with evident nostalgia as some gazed, probably remembering their losses.
Rebecca Mbetta one of the victims narrates to Capital FM News events of the fateful day.
“I was in the house with my child who was one year old and I heard noise and decided to go outside and see what was going on,” said Mbetta.
She added that even before she could make sense of what was causing the noise; what she once called her home was up in flames.
“I suddenly heard a loud bang and I ran back to the house to get my son and while leaving I was met by roaring flames. I managed to get out and ran to the closest crowd where I collapsed and later woke up at the Kenyatta National Hospital,” narrated Mbetta with tears in her eyes.
She, like other victims bears scars that remind of what she terms as a reminder of justice yet to be delivered.
“I hope that once I am compensated I will be able to go for surgery to loosen my neck muscles that have since healed conjoined to my neck muscles,” explained Rebecca.
Area leaders called on the government to hasten the compensation process because many residents are still trying to get back to their normal lives.
Representatives for the victims say they have written letters on several occasions and they are yet to receive any response.
“We kindly ask the Attorney General and Kenya Pipeline to respond to our cases and pleas as we are in the dark not knowing who to turn to for justice,” said the representative.
They thanked Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko for the support he has rendered to them in the past two years.
Sonko was then the Makadara Member of Parliament and partnered with the survivors and filed a suit against the government demanding Sh25 billion as compensation.
Sonko is said to be the only leader that has been supporting the residents.
It was noted with concern that no government official attended Thursday’s commemoration.
“Our leaders have forgotten us, were we rich we would have been addressed but because we are not rich they have forgotten us and they can’t even come and join us as we mourn,” said a representative.