Anxiety as Mai Mahiu flood victims moved from camp

Mai Mahiu flood victims

President William Ruto visits Mai Mahiu flood victims in Nakuru County on April 30, 2024.

Photo credit: PCS

What you need to know:

  • The State had promised to set aside Sh300 million to build houses for survivors of the tragedy that claimed 62 lives.
  • Mr Oduor said some people were asked to leave the camp and yet they were not given money to rebuild their lives.

The resettlement of the Mai Mahiu flood victims has been marred by uncertainty as displaced families were moved from the camps they have been living into rented houses last weekend.

The government had promised to set aside Sh300 million to build houses for survivors of the tragedy that claimed 62 lives.

But following reports that the State is yet to secure land where the displaced people will be resettled, the families fear that the process might take longer than expected and the government may not meet its obligations.

However, Nakuru County Commissioner Lyford Kibaara on Monday, June 10 assured the affected families that the government is working to resettle them after recording their details.

“We have a list of the affected people from the time they were initially housed at Ngeya Girls Secondary School before being moved to rental houses and others to a prayer centre. We have since moved families from the centre to rental houses. We have their records. Any person who feels left out should come forward and make a complaint,” Mr Kibaara told the Nation.

Flood victims

On Sunday, President William Ruto, who presided over the Akorino National Prayer Service in Nakuru, reiterated that all the Mai Mahiu flash flood victims will be resettled.

He said that after consultations, the government resolved to buy land and build houses for the families.

“I am saying it myself so that it is known that this is the position of the government. For now, we are searching for land to resettle the victims. I believe before the end of this month, the land will have been found,” he said.

This comes amid concerns by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) over the planned resettlement.

The commission’s Deputy Executive Director Cornelius Oduor said that despite the State promising the survivors new homes, there is no clear framework for their resettlement.

The KHRC has accused the government of forcing families out of the camp and offering them three months' rent despite some of them rejecting the move.

Mr Oduor said that some families have been forced to return to their houses which were partially destroyed during the floods while others have moved into rental houses with the government paying for them rent for three months.

The official said that when such calamities happen, the government should guarantee the safety of its people.

“We are here to follow up on the government’s commitment. When the tragedy occurred, it shocked everybody and top government officials visited the area. We remember very well the commitment given by the Deputy President that the government will stand with these people to ensure that they get back to their normal lives,” he said.

Speaking in Mai Mahiu, Mr Oduor noted that there is a lot of uncertainty and lack of clarity for the victims because once they leave the camp there is no clear plan on what will happen next.

Mr Oduor said there are claims that the list of the victims had been tampered with by some local administrators and genuine families have been left out.

He said that the commission has received complaints over lack of accountability and discrimination among the victims.

Mr Oduor said some people were asked to leave the camp and yet they were not given money to rebuild their lives.

He said the commission has filed a case in court seeking compensation for the families.

“Beyond the payment of rent, these people engaged in various economic activities but now they do not have a source of income. They are now left in rental facilities to eat whatever little was left after leaving the camp. Families are now facing an uncertain future,” he said.

“We are following up to see that justice is served,” he added.

Ms Eunice Wanjiru, a victim whose home was partially destroyed, said that their family was missing from the list of beneficiaries despite losing property.

Her mother was traumatised by the incident and she was forced to relocate from Mai Mahiu to Nyandarua County.

Another victim, Mr Samson Njamba, said he has rented a one-bedroom where he lives with his wife and sons aged 17 and 12.

Residents of Kamushire said the flash floods destroyed their crops. They appealed to the government to fulfil its promise of resettling them.