Dam disaster heroine driven by compassion

Roy Lumbe @lumbe_roy

The story seems like the most farfetched of urban heroes, but for 32-year-old community health worker, commitment and determination is what drove her on the night of Solai dam tragedy.

With no medical background,  except first aid skills, Mary Waruguru, scared and confused, got down to work, saving the lives of dozens of children who could have died.

At Le Cheila clinic where she works as an administrator, Waruguru says that on the night of the disaster, she was busy running her errands as usual before hearing a loud bang from the hill.

She says other staffers fled from the clinic upon hearing screams and loud quakes from the area leaving her alone at the clinic.

Waruguru thought of also fleeing the before a police vehicle arrived at the clinic with a one-month-old baby who was having difficulties breathing and covered in mud. The clinic is located about 200 meters from Nyakinyua village which was affected by the flood.

“It was a crazy night for all of us. The doctors at the facility fled for their lives leaving me at the clinic. I also contemplated fleeing before a police vehicle arrived with a minor who needed urgent medical attention,” said Waruguru.

She was, however, not able to convince the concerned officer who demanded that she save the live of the minor, that she was not a trained medic.

She remembers picking the one-month-old boy who was unconscious and removing mud in his nose and mouth before he burped and regained consciousness. After cleaning the baby, she wrapped him in a blanket

“I cleaned the baby whose body was cold and placed him on my chest. His breathing stabilised,” she said.

Paulina Amoni, a survivor who was treated at the facility, said Waruguru worked tirelessly to serve the casualties of the disaster.

Francis Maina, a neighbour, says Waruguru has been serving the community with a lot of compassion.

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