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11 drown in night of raging floods

PD Team @PeopleDailyKe

Three pupils, allegedly sent home to collect Sh250 tuition fees, were among 11 people who drowned in different incidents on Tuesday following heavy rains that pounded parts of the country.

Two cousins—Mercy Muthoni and Caroline Nyandia—and another girl were reportedly going to their parents’ workplace, in the ridges of River Chania, when they drowned. Kigio Primary School head teacher is said to have sent them home to collect the tuition fee, but reports from Education officers indicate the teacher had sent them home to collect birth certificates.

Kirwara police officers, in Gatanga sub-county, joined divers to retrieve the bodies of the Class Seven pupils, who drowned in River Chania on Tuesday night. The children met their death after they slipped into the river and were swept away by the fast-flowing waters.

Paul Ndung’u, the father of 14-year-old Mercy claimed several of her classmates had been sent home to collect the money. “The children decided to come to our workplaces to collect the fees but they did not manage to cross the river because the water was overflowing,” narrated the grieving father.

Ndung’u said a girl, who cheated death after deciding not to attempt crossing the river, reported the drowning of her classmates at Kigio AP post on Tuesday evening. Area sub-county Education Officer James Koigi, said the school head teacher reported the pupils were sent to collect birth certificates but decided to go swimming.

“We will establish the truth on what made the pupils to be sent home. The head teacher has maintained he sent them home to collect birth certificates,” Koigi told reporters. The officer said if the fees allegations were true, the head teacher will be subjected to disciplinary measures through the Teachers Service Commission.

Extra tuition was banned by the government and any levies for such activities remains illegal. Gatanga OCPD Beatrice Kiranguri said the girls were overpowered by the floodwater.

Due to rains in the area, Kiranguri said, the river had swollen and the pupils could not swim out. “We mobilised residents on Tuesday evening but were unable to retrieve the bodies.

This morning we got a team which assisted us to get them out of the water.” And in Mbeere South, three schoolgirls below the age of six drowned yesterday in the seasonal Kiruri River.

The three nursery school pupils at Karura Primary School were in a group of five when they tried to cross the river, whose banks had burst due to heavy rains. Karura Nyumba Kumi chair Festus Kariuki said two other girls were rescued and rushed to Embu Teaching and Referral Hospital for treatment.

Kariuki urged school administrators not to allow children go home unattended especially when it rains heavily. Similarly, he appealed to parents to escort pupils to school and pick them up from the learning institutions to avoid such tragedies.

In Naivasha, transport along Kongoni-Maella road has been paralysed after the heavy rains cut of a section. Consequently, food produce is said to be rotting in farms as roads are rendered impassable. Schoolchildren from three public primary schools have also been forced to stay at home as a key bridge connecting three villages collapsed.

Elsewhere in Bondo, shock and grief struck West Yimbo residents following the deaths of two fishermen who drowned in stormy Lake Victoria after their boat capsized, yesterday morning.

The storm also left at least 100 families homeless. The windstorm, which started around 9am blew off rooftops, swept away crops in the farms and rendered most roads impassable.

An 85-year-old grandmother died at Minya village in South Sakwa, Bondo sub-county after her mud-walled house collapsed following a heavy downpour on Tuesday night. Area chief Patrick Obilo said Mama Suslia Olang’o met her death when the house collapsed following the windstorm. Reporting by Kirera Mwiti, Brian Musyoka, Mathew Ndung’u and Eric Juma

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