The killer waters of Solai

The site of fresh graves in the fields is a sombre reminder of the Solai Dam tragedy that happened two months ago in Nakuru.

Shoes, children’s clothes and other personal belonging are strewn across the bare grounds.

Villages, once full of life, have been engulfed in silence. The faces of survivors filled with misery, pain and despair after the tragedy that left 47 people dead; among them 16 children.

The number has since gone up to 48; one more victim succumbed to her illness contracted on the fateful day.

Patel Dam

Two months ago, as hundreds of families gathered in their homes to have dinner, the angel of death came calling. And in a blink of an eye, the unimaginable happened.

On that fateful evening, the murderous waters of Solai came sweeping through Nyakinyua, Engineer and Nyandarua villages, leaving a trail of destruction.

The aftermath of which, is the unimaginable losses, one Josiah Gathogo lost all his four children.

Gathogo, a boda boda rider, had gone to buy his family some meat for dinner when he heard a deafening sound. He ran home only to find all his children gone. No more.

A grieving Gathogo recounts the ordeal and explains how his heart is still in pain.

“When I see children in school uniform, they remind me of my little ones and it is really painful,” Gathogo recounts.

Tabitha Nyambura and her two daughters, Ruth Wairimu and Eunice Wanjiku, died holding hands. They are buried where their house stood; just like many other victims.

Tabitha Nyambura and her two daughters Ruth Wairimu Nyambura and Eunice Wanjiku Nyambura died holding hands

Five year old Mary Wairimu met her demise alongside her seventy year old grandfather Stephen Mbugua at their home.

Families are yet to come to terms with the tragedy , the loses are unquantifiable.

For one Stephen Nganga, the tragedy left him taking care of his six months old grandson. The boys’ mother, Njeri – Nganga’s daughter, was killed in the Solai dam tragedy together with her older son and younger brother.

Stephen Nganga lost a daughter, a son and a grandson

“I rang Njeri immediately I heard about the dam burst but she did not pick up. When I went to Energy village where she lived I was told that she had been taken to the morgue,” recounts Nga’ng’a.

The victims are now facing snarl compensation process, psychological distress that they hope to recover from.

They claim that the people whose businesses were destroyed were compensated better than those that lost their loved ones.

Homes that stood in the villages of Energy, Nyakinyua and Nyandarua were buried by the gushing waters, others are still covered by mud – a Stark reminder of the disaster.

Many are homeless having been displaced by the killer waters.

Schools, crops and livestock were not spared either. The lives of thousands have been altered by this tragedy.

Victims claim they have been complaining about compensation accusing the chiefs of mishandling the compensation issue.

There are claims, too, that some victims have been left out of the lists being handled by the local administration.


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