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Expectant mother, four children buried alive

An expectant mother and her four children died on Friday night when their house was swept away by a mudslide along the Kakamega-Nandi County border.

The victim was identified as Rose Muyuka aged 31 and her children Amukula Ngaira, 12, Michael Amulada, 9, Wesley Ngaira, 7, and Engard Ngaira, 6.

Her husband, Mr Philip Ngaira, a casual labourer in Lessos town, was not at home.

The mudslide is reported to have been triggered by heavy rains which lasted nearly 12 hours.

Police and Red Cross officials from Kakamega and Nandi Counties went to Chepngavai village in Sangelo location, Nandi North, after being alerted about the tragedy.

LOUD NOISE

Villagers called for help after desperately digging up the mud for hours to try and retrieve the bodies of the five family members.

The chief of the neighbouring Ivihiga location in Kakamega East, Mrs Loice Muchesia, said the semi-permanent house was buried in the mud and rocks.

The house was built on a rocky hill and was buried in the avalanche of mud and a rock rolling down the hill in the 1.30 am incident.

Villagers in the neighbourhood reported hearing a loud noise followed by a big bang during a heavy downpour.

Mrs Philomena Ngaira, the deceased woman’s mother-in-law, lives about 50 metres from the scene. She said she was awoken by a rumbling noise and went out to see what was happening.

“I rushed to my son’s house to see if his wife and children were okay but I was shocked to find the house buried in mud,” she said.

ALL BODIES RECOVERED

Neighbours found the semi-permanent structure buried in the mud. Help came at dawn from Kakamega East administration police officers and the Red Cross.

“The house was completely destroyed and buried in the mud and villagers were using bare hands to dig up the rubble,” said Mrs Muchesia.

Kakamega County Police Chief Tito Kilonzi said rescue teams from Kakamega and Nandi County went to the village to retrieve the bodies. By midday, villagers had recovered all the bodies.

Nandi North Deputy County Commissioner Richard Ajwang’ said at the scene that families in 70 households living in the sloppy escarpment will be relocated to safer grounds.

He said the soil on the hills had been weakened by heavy rains, leading to mudslides.

A villager, Mr Anthony Nueri, said families along the escarpment were living in fear but had no alternative homes to relocate to.

Additional reporting by Gerald Bwisa and Bernard Rotich