President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto on Wednesday joined survivors of the Solai dam tragedy in an interdenominational memorial service to honor the 48 victims who perished during the horrific incident in Nakuru.
The memorial service, also attended by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and Mrs Rachel Ruto, brought the country together in grief. The leaders committed themselves to prevent similar tragedies occasioned by man-made water reservoirs.
Thousands of survivors and mourners gathered at the Solai African Inland Church grounds where they recounted the horrendous events of the May 9 night when muddy torrents of water from a burst Patel dam swept through the sleepy Energy village , leaving 48 people dead and property worth hundreds of thousands destroyed.
President Kenyatta reiterated the governments pledge to fully support all victims of water related calamities across the country while other leaders and the church committed themselves to pro-actively protect the environment by supporting Government campaign to plant millions of trees across the country.
President Kenyatta said the floods have caused havoc and destruction not only to the residents of Solai in Subukia, but also has affected residents of Tana River, Kilifi and Migori counties.
“As Kenyans we need to work hard and provide solutions to forestall such occurrences in future,” said the President.
The President committed that the government will rebuild all schools which have been destroyed by the floods.
He further said government would construct roads and provide water apart from other social amenities which have been destroyed by the current floods.
Last Saturday, President Kenyatta announced an extra Ksh 1 billion to be made available to the Kenya Red Cross to continue with its relief work, in addition to the Ksh 1.5 billion already set aside for the purpose of assisting flood victims across the country
Besides the deaths, majority of them women and school children, the Solai tragedy left over 5000 people displaced in addition to massive destruction occasioned by the burst Patel dam waters which flattened the sleepy Energy Village before sweeping through Nyakinyua farm .
The unprecedented calamity also left three churches (PCEA Solai, Full Gospel, and Good Shepherd), and two schools flattened and uprooted electric polls cutting power in the area and hampering initial evacuation.
Apart from darkness that plunged the area, evacuation was further hampered by the poor road whose condition was worsened by the artificial floods from the burst dam.
The President commended the residents of Solai and Nakuru County Government leadership for their prompt response which helped save many lives during the Patel dam tragedy.