“I ran and climbed a tree and watched in shock as my family’s homestead got submerged in water. When the water subsided, I climbed down the tree and saw bodies of my mother, sister and father trapped in the mud, holding hands. My grandmother who had managed to escape and was rushed to hospital. She is all I have been left with.”
This is the sad story of Abraham, a thirteen year old boy in class seven at Nyakinyua Primary
School. His family had moved from Kisii to Solai about three weeks before the tragedy of the collapsed dam in Solai, Nakuru County. The Patel dam that is privately owned and used for irrigation and fish farming in Nakuru county burst its banks which led to heavy flooding and mudslides that left 47 people dead, massive loss of property and many families homeless. The tragedy came after a severe drought, weeks of torrential rain in Kenya that has led to flooding and mudslides in various parts of the Country leaving more than 200 people dead and thousands others homeless.
On that fateful night, Abraham had been sent by his grandmother to buy kerosene. While outside the heavy downpour began and he heard his grandmother calling him as she fled for her life. Abraham rushed to his mother’s house which was within the compound to tell her about the heavy downpour. His mother started dressing up her eight year old daughter but by the time she was through, the massive flood had gotten to them.
The village hosted about 60 homesteads on plots measuring an eighth of an acre each, and was home to hundreds of casual labourers who earn a living of less than one dollar a day from the coffee estate irrigated by the dam, the flower farms in Solai and other plantations.
The destruction occurred within a duration of 40 minutes and the effects were felt the following day when the sun shone. Cars had been swept away and slammed into buildings which were, in turn, washed away to their foundations. A lot of property was lost leaving residents wondering where to begin life again.
“I left work at the dam early, fed my animals and went to bed around 8.00 p.m. A little while I found myself outside with mud in my eyes, mouth and the entire body. The raging waters swept me away with no clothes. Later, I was taken to hospital where I saw many bodies lying lifeless and I am glad I survived. I am convinced that God has some work for me to do and I am willing and determined to find out what it is.” Says Gideon, a survivor from the tragedy.
Bible Society of Kenya sent a team of six facilitators to offer hope through trauma healing sessions to the collapsed dam survivors. The team was there to listen, empathize and speak hope to the victims. A total of 19 victims were addressed by the team which included children. One of the survivors, out of her own volition, gave her life to Christ during one of the sessions.
“I am a single mother of five children. I moved from Laikipia into Solai in the year 1984. I was working as a casual laborer at the Patel estate and my youngest child is three years old. I was traumatized at the thought of having to search for my four children. When the alerts of the impending danger reached me, I only managed to run out with my youngest child. By God’s grace, my four children were brought to me by neighbors unscathed. I remembered the story of Meshach, Shedrack and Abednego in the fire yet they were not burnt. I felt that God had given me another chance by sparing my children. I lost my in laws in the tragedy. I am surrendering my life to Jesus Christ because I will not manage to move on with life on my own,” says Hannah Logolo, a survivor.
The BSK team ascertained that there was great need for detailed and thorough trauma healing sessions, clothing, foodstuff and writing materials for school going children. Most people are still struggling to move on as they do not have a livelihood or anywhere to run to.
It is in line with this that we kindly requesting for your support that will be extended to the residents of the area. If you have dry foodstuff and clothing, we would appreciate if you would drop them at Bible House. Monetary donations can be made through Paybill: 518100, Account: Solai.