Ms Philis Kemei is consoled by relatives after viewing the body of her seven-year-old daughter, Beverly Kemei. Beverly and her neighbour, Brenda Chepchirchir, six, drowned in a flooded quarry as they walked from school. [Photo: Peter Ochieng/Standard]
Two nursery school pupils drown in flooded quarry
Two families are mourning the death of their children who drowned in a flooded quarry.
The two girls, Beverly Kemei, seven, and Brenda Chepchirchir, six, who were pupils at Toloita Primary School, were holding hands as they walked home from school when they slipped into the water-filled quarry.
The families and area residents blamed the county for the tragedy, saying it had failed to fence off the dam.
“The county dug the quarry to extract murram, which it used to repair roads. We expected the officials to seal the quarry upon conclusion of the exercise. Surprisingly, they left it open, exposing residents to danger,” said Peter Singoei, a resident.
Beverly’s father, Abraham Kemei, could not hold back his tears as he remembered the last time he saw his first-born daughter.
“We took breakfast together and I took her to school. She was jovial and in fact at one time asked me to clap for her for having performed well in class. When I saw motorbikes approaching my home after the disappearance of the two pupils, it dawned on me that all was not well,” he said.
Kemei added that as he watched police officers and local residents retrieve the bodies, he faced the sad reality that his daughter was, indeed, dead.
Florence Koech, the mother of Brenda Chepchirchir, described her daughter as a hard worker who was close to her friend, Beverly.
The families of the two girls are neighbours.
“I have lost a treasure. It is sad that the two friends died so young,” said the mother who was overcome by emotion.
Micah Ndalut, the owner of the piece of land where the dam is located, condoled with the two families and promised to fence off the area.
Ndalut said he has warned local residents and pupils against walking near the dam.
“The dam has been a source of water which I have been using for my crops and animals. I have, however, agreed with the locals that it should be fenced to avert more deaths,” he said.
Moses Kangogo, the area ward administrator, said the county under the Ministry of Roads, would fill up the dam and find ways of assisting the bereaved families.
He called on area residents to find an alternative route for pupils to use to go to school.