Kenya: Sh30 Million Bridge for Enziu River After Bus Tragedy That Killed 32 People

7 December 2021

Nairobi — The government has announced plans to put up a bridge at Enziu River in Kitui County following the weekend bus tragedy that killed 32 people.

Transport and Infrastructure Principal Secretary Paul Maringa told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that the funds have been set aside and a tender advertised.

Maringa said the tender notification contract is expected to be signed within the month to enable the contractor to start work in January next year.

32 people died Saturday, mainly members of a church choir and villagers who were headed to a wedding when a school bus they had hired was swept away by raging floods on the bridge.

Police and locals said most of the dead were members of the same family, while others were people who had paid Sh50 to be ferried across the bridge after waiting for transport for hours.

"The ill-fated bus wreckage is completely out of the river. 9 more bodies have been recovered today (Sunday) bringing the total bodies recovered to 32," said Charity Ngilu, the Governor of Kitui County who was coordinating the recovery efforts.

The bus was taking a church choir and other revellers to a wedding in Kitui County on Saturday when it keeled over and sank beneath fast-flowing waters as the driver tried to navigate a submerged bridge.

Twelve passengers managed to scramble to safety but most aboard the stricken bus were unable to escape before it was swallowed by the muddy tide.

Ngilu said 32 bodies had been retrieved since Saturday by military divers, but warned the toll could rise further as the search and rescue operation continued but local administrators said they will rely on locals to report missing persons, suggesting they had accounted for all the people in the ill-fated bus.

"It is very, very sad indeed. We have lost so many lives," Ngiu said.

Witnesses said the driver had stopped to negotiate the river, and was close to the other side when the bus was swept beneath the churning currents.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday sent his condolences to the families of the victims and urged Kenyans to be cautious on roads during the rainy season.

"Once again, the President wishes to remind Kenyans across the country to heed government advisory against attempting to cross swollen rivers especially during the current rainy season," read a statement from Kenyatta's office.

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