Family members of four flood victims who had been trapped in river Enziu in Kitui County after the car they were travelling in was swept away by raging waters and buried deep in the sandy river can now get closure after the bodies of their Kin were dug out from the water body 22 days after they went missing.
A Kenya Forum’s correspondent stumbled upon an appeal on social media made by a family member of Cecilia Mbira Kinuthia (24), one of the victims, seeking help to retrieve the car from the river and promptly brought the issue to the attention of the Red Cross, Disaster Management Unit, which moved to the scene the morning after the communication was done, but efforts to retrieve the bodies, which were trapped in a Toyota probox the victims were travelling in proved difficult.
“We need help! we have already paid 8,000 for “fuel” for the excavator given by the local government but still nothing. Atleast if we can get help in getting her body, we will be at peace,” appealed Arthur Githinji, a brother to Cecilia.
Cecilia, who was in the company of her friend identified as Ndung’e and two men, were headed to a funeral at Nuu when they met their demise, could have been part of statics of people who disappear without a trace, had it not been for a tracking device the car they had travelling in had been fitted with since it was for hire.
The owner of the probox got concerned when the driver disappeared for days and on tracking the vehicle, the signal led to a section of the river. Phone signals of the victims also indicated they were in the same location and the rescue teams were convinced that the bodies were trapped in the car.
Efforts by divers to find the car proved futile as the river is vast and full of sand and due to the ongoing rains, the waters were still raging.
“The rivers in Kitui county are something else! they are enormous and filled with sand, without proper equipment the bodies might not be found soon,” a resident told the Kenya Forum.
According to Samuel from the Kenya Lifesaving Federation, who were among the first respondents on the scene, their divers plunged in the river but the mission proved difficult since it required specialised equipment.
on Monday, 22 days later, efforts by rescue teams, drawn from the National Unit of Disaster Management, Kenya Red Cross and the National Youth Service (NYS) born fruit and the wreckage of the car was found buried 10 metres underneath the river bed, 100 metres downstream from a bridge residents use to move cross the road. The bodies were still intact and family members identified all of them.
“As much as we are pained by the death of our sister, we now have peace now that we have her body. We have taken the body to Mwingi Level 4 hospital as we make plans for the burial,” Githinji said.