In Summary
  • The dam owned by a farmer cum businessman Mr Patel Mansukul, broke its banks last Wednesday and flooded areas downstream killing 47 people.

  • Relatives of the Solai victims picked 42 of the bodies from mortuary on Wednesday for burial.

Mr Mbugua Kariuki sat pensively in the midst of hundreds of mourners, staring blankly at the rows of caskets bearing remains of some of the victims of the Patel Dam tragedy.

An interdenominational prayer service was underway, at the Solai AIC Church, and Mr Kariuki was struggling to follow the proceedings of the service just like many other mourners.

Dressed in a blue suit, he was visibly in deep thought and still traumatised. Mr Mbugua, who was a watchman at Solai Nyakinyua Primary School, managed to escape death by a whisker.

The dam owned by a farmer cum businessman Mr Patel Mansukul, broke its banks last Wednesday and flooded areas downstream killing 47 people.

The 36-year-old could be at his one-acre farm attending to his peas, worrying about how the rainy season is affecting his produce, how after the harvest his crops will transported to Nairobi and elsewhere, but today he was mourning tens of his villagemates, lying in coffins.

Nearly a week after the tragedy occurred, the ugly scenes of the tragedy are still fresh in his mind.

When he granted us an interview, he insisted he did not want to be photographed, condition we agreed to.

He said life has really changed for him and other villagers who were affected by the tragedy.

“Nyakinyua Primary School that would be a hive of activity as learners go through their second term lessons is now a pale shadow its former self. Mud and debris fill the classes that were not destroyed in the tragedy,” said Mr Kariuki as he goes for his handkerchief to wipe tears flowing freely down his cheeks.

The raging waters cut right in the middle of the compound of the school and brought with it bodies, a car, among other things.

At least five pupils who attended the school died in the tragedy.

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