Narok family of four killed in mudslide was weeks away from ‘safer’ house

Coffins containing the remains of four family members killed in a mudslide in Narok County, during a funeral service at Torokiat, Narok South.

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

A Narok family's dream of a new, safe and secure home was tragically cut short after a mudslide claimed their lives.

Before the April 11 tragedy that claimed the lives of Robert Keter, 35, his wife Faith Keter, 24, and their two children, Brian Kibet, 5, and Cherotich Keter, 3, the family had taken proactive steps to build a new house in a safer location away from the looming disaster.

Materials had been delivered to the site and the foundation carefully laid, but fate dealt the family a cruel blow when a devastating mudslide following heavy rains in Torokiat village last week claimed their lives.

By dawn, the Keter family's home lay in ruins, with the occupants trapped under the debris. 

The destroyed house where four members of a family were killed in a mudslide in Torokiat village in Narok South constituency.

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

The four were buried on Thursday in an emotional ceremony attended by local leaders and residents.

Despite valiant efforts to rescue them, the victims could not be reached in time, according to Keter's younger brother, Wesley Keter.

"I heard a thundering noise but dismissed it. An hour later, I decided to go out and investigate, only to be confronted by the side of a collapsed house," Wesley Keter said, adding that it took him an hour to mobilise neighbours to come to the rescue, which was unsuccessful.

He said the rescue operation was completed around 10am and the bodies were taken to the mortuary at Longisa County Referral Hospital in neighbouring Bomet County.

"This has been a very painful experience, to lose a brother, a sister-in-law and two of their children in the twinkling of an eye is really devastating for us as a family to say the least," he said.

Keter's father, Joseph Bor, mourned his son as the sole breadwinner of his extended family, who were now left with a huge burden.

"It is every parent's expectation that their children will live long enough to bury them in their old age, but nothing prepares you to bury your son, his wife and all their children at once, as I have been subjected to. Only God knows why and I have no power to question or fight it," Mr Bor said in an emotional farewell speech.

County leaders, including Bomet Deputy Governor Tamalinye Koech and Emurrua Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno, pledged support for infrastructure development and disaster management initiatives to prevent such tragedies from happening again.