Flood victim’s body still missing

A couple is grieving after their four-year-old son was swept away in a flooded river a week ago, and little is being done to retrieve the body.

Mr Joseph Ogundo and Ms Maurine Achieng said the local administration and the police are unwilling to help. As a result, they are losing hope of ever burying their son.

Arnold Omondi was playing with his friends near his home in Riverbank area of Embakasi, Nairobi, on November 15, when he stepped on a patch of sludge.

He ran to the nearby river to wash his sandalled feet. While he was scrapping the mud from his foot, the water swept away one of his sandals.

The boy was later swept away by the river, which was overflowing due to the rains.

“The current proved too strong for him and he was swept away by the river. It was around 4pm,” Mr Ogundo told the Nation.

The couple learnt about the incident from one of Arnold’s friends, who had showed up at their door, crying.

Ms Achieng bolted out of the house barefooted and made for the river. But it was too late.

Her little boy was nowhere to be seen. She called out for her son and ran back and forth along the bank, but was only confronted by the sound of the raging water.

At one point, she stepped on broken glass that left a big gash on her foot, but at the time she barely noticed the injury.

“We went to the Embakasi Police Station to report the incident after we failed to find our son,” said Mr Ogundo.

“Two officers came over, inspected the scene and took a statement. The next day they came again and asked for an update and we told them that the body was yet to be found.”

That was the last time the police went to Mr Ogundo’s home or made any effort to locate Arnold’s body.

“They haven’t done anything to help. I have pleaded with them, but one of the officers who visited the scene told us that they cannot do anything. She said we have to look for the body ourselves,” said Mr Ogundo.

MORE DISASTERS

But the family does not have the means to carry out such an extensive and complex search.

Embakasi police boss Apolo Onyonyi told the Daily Nation officers have been waiting for the body to float so that they can retrieve it.

“Normally, we usually give the body some time to float so that it is easy to get to it,” he said.

At the same time, families of two people who drowned after a boat they were using to cross River Sio in Busia County capsized are seeking divers to retrieve the bodies.

The families, from Kadeki village in Matayos Sub-County, urged the county and national governments to send experts from the Kenya Navy for the task.

The victims were Mr Lawrence Odhiambo, 24, and Ruth Ajwang, a Class Seven pupil at Indoli Primary School.

The incident comes barely two months after another boat capsized at the same spot, killing a Standard Eight candidate of Bumutiru Primary School.

In Maua, Meru County, the Kenya Red Cross has warned of a possible outbreak of waterborne diseases due to flooding.

Upper Eastern Kenya coordinator Gitonga Mugambi asked health officers in the area to educate the public about the impeding danger.

Mr Gitonga said many toilets had been submerged.

He spoke yesterday during an assessment tour of Maua after heavy rains pounded the area.

“The town is situated at the base of many hills, where water drains. As a result of the flooding, the waste has mixed with the water,” he said.

He said it is important for the Health Department to organise public meetings to educate the locals on the dangers of using such water.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION