Kenya: Family's Agonising Search for Mother, Daughter Who Drowned in Kiambu

11 December 2019

A short journey to church for Lucy Wairimu and her daughter Ruth Nduta from Kwa Maiko village in Kiambu County ended in tragedy when the two drowned while trying to cross River Ruiru using a makeshift bridge on Sunday morning.

Wairimu, Nduta and her son Anthony Njuguna were headed to church in Komothai area in Githunguri when the accident happened on Sunday morning.

HELPLESS

According to Njuguna 30, who survived the accident, the trio had taken turns to cross the swollen river using a log. Nduta, 13, went first, when the log twisted, plunging her into the river.

Wairimu fell into the water while trying to pull her daughter to safety.

A frightened and helpless Njuguna watched as the two were quickly swept away by strong currents before he could do anything to save them.

For the fourth consecutive day now, a search party made up of mostly villagers has been scouring the river and surrounding bushes for any traces of their bodies. Without any luck.

Using wooden rods and on foot, villagers have spent hours by the river valley trying to locate the bodies.

By Monday afternoon, only Wairimu's handbag had been located by the searchers a few metres from the point where the two drowned.

On Wednesday, her mobile phone and her personal effects, including vegetables she was carrying, were also located further downstream.

Search efforts have largely been hampered by raging waters of the flooded river that drains into River Chania, and lack of specialised equipment and skills among the villagers.

By the close of search mission on Wednesday evening, the family had yet to locate the bodies. They are now calling out to the government to help them find the bodies of the mother and her daughter for burial.

Other than a promise by the local administration police to help in the search on Thursday, nothing has been forthcoming.

As the short rains continue to be experienced in the country, more than 130 people have lost their lives, thousands of others displaced and property worth millions of shillings destroyed.

In response to the disaster being wreaked by floods across the country, the government has set aside Sh200 billion to evacuate and provide aid to the victims.

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