Mudslides surprise Kenyans killing several

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No fewer than 14 people died in massive landslides in West Pokot District of western Kenya as rains pounded central and western parts of the country over the weekend.

The victims, mostly school children, were caught unawares at night as their houses were swept by mudslides in Cheptulel village.

According to area leaders, ten children from the same clan and a woman were buried alive in mudslide following the all-night downpour.

Eight of the children who were pupils at Annet primary school were reading in a hut while two others were toddlers when the tragedy struck.

Area District Commissioner Jeremiah Were, the police and Kenya Red Cross officials fished out the bodies from the muddy terrain.

“It’s true that some people have died in a mudslide and we are heading there to ascertain the actual number of the dead,” said police officer, David Wambua.

Authotities said that seven of the 15 villagers, who were seriously injured, were admitted at the Kapenguria District Hospital, while the rest were treated and discharged.

Two years ago, eight people were killed by mudslides at Parua and Tappach areas in the same district.

The local Red Cross office, already on ground, appealed for medical, food and any other assistance for the victims.

In Murang’a North district in central Kenya, a 16-year-old girl was killed and three families left homeless in two separate landslides. A primary school girl, Mary Wairimu, died after the house in which she was sleeping was hit by a large mass shift of soil.

In the other incident, two houses were destroyed by slidding mud after heavy rains pounded the area the previous night.

Leading environmentalists here, including Nobel Laurete, Professor Wangari Maathai, blamed the mudslides, especially in Kenyan highland areas, on environmental degradation and deforestation.

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