Why Mai Mahiu Victims are Seeking Resettlement Away from Tragedy Site

May 9, 2024

The victims of the Mai Mahiu dam tragedy have urged the government to relocate them away from the flood-prone area, citing persistent fear and trauma stemming from the incident.

As the death toll reached 62 on Wednesday and over 30 individuals missing, families implored the government to expedite the resettlement process, describing life in the camp as intolerable.

This plea coincided with a visit from members of the Uwezo land-buying company to the families residing in the Mai Mahiu camp, who pledged to collaborate with other real estate firms to secure land for some of the victims.

According to Samuel Maina, the CEO of the company, the affected families have endured significant mental and physical anguish in the wake of Monday’s tragic events.

He emphasized the company’s commitment to partnering with like-minded stakeholders in the sector to resettle multiple families and alleviate their suffering.

“In addition to providing families with food and other essentials, we will explore avenues to secure land and even homes for them to rebuild their lives,” he stated.

This sentiment was echoed by Kevin Wainana, a director in the company, who called upon fellow Kenyans to continue supporting the families, many of whom lost all their belongings to the floods.

“While we may not reach every affected individual, with the support of other Kenyans and organizations, we can make a significant impact,” he remarked.

Victims’ Pleas

George Njogu, one of the victims who lost all his possessions, including rental properties, expressed reluctance to return to their former land. He cited lingering fear following the devastation caused by the floods, which swept away homes, livestock, and numerous families from the area.

“We appreciate the government and Kenyans for their ongoing support, but returning to an area where so many lives were lost and property destroyed presents significant challenges,” he explained.

This sentiment was echoed by David Karanja, another victim, who stressed the need for a thorough assessment of the area before any resettlement efforts to prevent further disasters.

“We are awaiting government directives on resettlement and the status of the area where we were displaced, as many are still struggling to recover,” he added.

Evangelist Lucy Ngunjiri, who has provided shelter to displaced families at her Prayer Center in Mai Mahiu, emphasized the urgent need for counseling and support for the victims.

“I opened up this facility free of charge to accommodate these families in the aftermath of the tragedy, as they require various forms of assistance to rebuild their lives,” she noted.

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