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No help has come! – Embakasi fire victims cry after politician promises

Victims of the gas explosion in the Mradi area, Embakasi East, have come out to demand genuine sympathy from leaders who are still visiting them as they promise to help.

Some of the injured victims are now claiming that the politicians who have visited the area have neglected them and turned their grief into campaigns to please their supporters.

It is now emerging that the aid promised by top government officials, the Nairobi County Governor Johnson Sakaja, opposition leader Raila Odinga and other politicians has not reached the real victims of the incident.

Speaking to Nairobi News on Thursday, affected residents claimed that poor planning in the distribution of aid has seen people from as far as Soweto benefitting as they are left out.

Julius Mwendwa, who is nursing his injuries on the bed of his single room in the affected area, says the only aid he has received is the rice and beans distributed by the Kenya Red Cross.

“I have not received even a shilling apart from the food that was brought by the Red Cross. I submitted my name to the leaders who came here but nothing has been sent to my phone,” Mr Mwendwa said.

Also read: Businesses count losses after Embakasi gas explosion

Mwendwa has injuries on his hands and head and relies on help from neighbours to cook his rice while continuing to pray that the promised money will reach him one day.

Dorcas Chepngetich used to run a liquor shop just across the illegal gas plant that went up in flames and was the only means of making a living.

She says that when the incident happened, she was inside serving customers before the whole place turned to ruins within minutes, ending her Sh300,000 business.

“We want to be compensated to at least restart our businesses. For now, we are just here walking up and down without any job. Some people said that they have received money but some of us have been left out yet we have been writing down our names and submitting them,” Ms Chepngetich said.

Three members of the same family who were injured in the fire are still in Kenyatta National Hospital, leaving their young daughter in the care of their neighbour, Zipporah Chepkwony, who has yet to receive help.

Huyu mtoto, mama yake ako ward, ndugu yake ako ward na mimi ndio ninamuangalia saa hizi. Huyu mtoto naye aliungua kwa uso vile unaangalia, na hana kitu hata (the mother to this daughter I’m carrying is still in the ward, together with his son and I’m the one taking care of her. She sustained some injuries as well as you can see but no help has come so far),” Ms Chepkwony said.

Also read: Sakaja: Owner of Embakasi gas plant must compensate victims

Youth in the area who were also affected have come out to accuse politicians of using the Embakasi incident to campaign instead of ensuring they are looked after.

“It is painful that most of the people who were affected are nursing injuries inside their homes while the aid is not reaching them. No help is reaching our mothers, brothers, and fathers who were affected.

The food and money they are giving the victims are not being received. We want to know if the people from Kayole, Utawala, Mihango or Soweto are the ones who were affected by the fire,” one Mradi victim said.

When Mr Odinga, and area MP Babu Owino visited the victims, they both pledged to give out one million each which will be directed to the victims.

Governor Sakaja said that the county would support the victims by giving them Sh10, 000 each even as he reiterated that the owner of the premises should be forced to compensate the victims.