NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – A high-powered government delegation was unable to fly to West Pokot Monday, following the weekend landslide and floods that killed more than 50 people.
The chopper carrying the delegation led by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa was forced to land in Eldoret due to bad weather. They were accompanied by Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai and West Pokot County Commissioner George Natembeya.
The officials had been scheduled to land in Kapenguria to visit victims in the referal hospital before heading to affected regions to meet locals and assess the damage caused when heavy rains caused a landslide that destroyed houses, burying dozens of villagers alive in the worst tragedy in the region.
“We have been forced to land here, so we will have to wait a bit to see whether it will clear and whether we will be advised to fly to Kapenguria,” the CS told journalists in Eldoret.
His office later announced that he had decided to fly back to Nairobi when it became apparent that the weather will not improve for the better. The team was set to address a press conference at Wilson Airport later Monday on arrival from Eldoret.
Matiangi said the Government had already dispatched relief supplies to the affected areas.
“I know that because the roads are too difficult to navigate at this time, some of the foods and items like blankets will be late to arrive,” he pointed out.
Wamalwa said the Government has since mobilized support to the affected families, even as the death toll rise to 52, with area leaders appealing for a chopper to ferry more bodies, believed to be trapped in the debris.
“Our national teams are on the ground working with County teams and the Kenya Red Cross officials to support the affected families,” the CS said.
Mutyambai said police were working with other agencies to “ensure the more than 100,000 people directly affected by the floods and the landslides are moved to safer grounds as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Earlier Monday, West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo appealed to the national government to deploy a chopper to the region to help transport bodies.
“The challenge we are facing here is transportation because bridges have been cut off, we need the government to station a chopper here,” he told reporters when he updated the death toll.
“The number of people confirmed dead now is 52,” he said, “there are other bodies that are yet to be transported from the villages.”
The Kenya Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rain throughout the week, with up to 30mm raising fears of more devastating effects in various parts of the country.
“The current heavy rains being experienced over several parts of the country are expected to continue on Sunday 24 November 2019 and 25 November. The rainfall intensities are expected to reduce from Wednesday over several parts of Kenya,” reads an alert from the weatherman.
Regions likely to be affected include Western, South Eastern, Northwestern, Northeastern and central regions including Nairobi.