Six still trapped after Migori mine collapses

Macalder area in Nyatike, Migori.

What you need to know:

  • Rescuers lack proper equipment to excavate the heaps of soil that buried the miners alive.
  • Helplessness is evident among the onlookers at the scene.

At least six workers are still trapped in a gold mine in Migori, more than 15 hours after a tunnel caved in.

On Wednesday, rescue workers were still scrambling to break through the rocky barriers as fears grew the men could suffocate in the Macalder mines in Nyatike Constituency.

At the scene, helpless onlookers and the police stood by as a crane attempted to lift the soil from the site.

Migori County chief officer in charge of Disaster Management Joshua Ngwala told Nation they had “mobilised equipment to remove the heaps of soil that buried the miners.”

In Migori, where some gold deposits are scattered around Nyatike, miners often risk it all with crude tools to try and find the precious metals. It is often fraught with accidents where workers get buried alive.

The accident on Tuesday evening was blamed on the heavy rains. But it also exposed the weaknesses in the local county government when it comes to disaster management.

It is the mandate of the counties to handle local fires, accidents and other related disasters like flooding.

But in Migori, where miners continually face weak mines, the rescue response was delayed.

At the site, the tunnel where the miners were trapped, the residents desperate to rescue their kin resorted to use fireworks in an attempt to break down the huge stone barriers to the tunnel.

They failed, yet the clock is still ticking.

County Commander Joseph Nthenge warned the miners to be extra-cautious during this rainy season.