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Keep politics out of Solai restoration, says Red Cross boss



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The Kenya Red Cross Society wants Nakuru County leaders to stop politicising the Solai dam tragedy restoration programme.

A private dam inside a farm owned and managed by Perry Mansukh Kansagara and Vinoj Jaya Kumar burst its banks on May 9, sweeping away nearby villages and leaving at least 48 people dead.

Red cross Secretary-General Abass Gullet, who spoke on Wednesday during the groundbreaking for the construction of 37 permanent and semi-permanent houses, said focus should be on the survivors.

Residents of Nyankinyua and Energy villages suffered most in the incident that left at least 5,000 people displaced.

“I request Nakuru leaders to focus on how we can rebuild lives of the survivors. It has been more than five months now. We need to help affected families pick up the pieces,” Mr Gullet said.

Red Cross partnered with Nakuru to help survivors rebuild their lives.

The construction of the houses, whose designs Governor Lee Kinyanjui’s government approved, will cost about Sh40 million.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui launched the restoration programme a few months ago.

“My administration is determined to ensure the survivors get back to their normal lives. I will ensure this happens as soon as possible,” he said at the time.

However, interference derailed the process as some politicians took advantage of the tragedy to gain mileage.

Mr Gullet, Governor Kinyanjui and senior county officials visited the scene of the tragedy and assured the people that they will not be abandoned.

Cameras became the order of the day in the sleepy villages that the water from the dam gushed through but this is no longer the case as residents pick up the pieces.

Dignitaries have stopped arriving in helicopters and there are no longer convoys of vehicles racing through the rough road that connects Solai to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

Only officials humanitarian bodies including Red Cross and organisations such as Safaricom have been visiting the area.

The survivors, who number more than 400, have demanded Sh1 billion from the owners of the dam. A case on this is pending at the Nakuru Law Courts.

The two owners of the dam and seven other people are facing charges at a Naivasha court over the deaths of the 48 people.