Family of the late Dorcas Jepkemboi Chumba who drowned while at a picnic with her fiancé at Chepkiit waterfalls in Nandi has been camping at the scene for five days now with the hope of retrieving the body of their beloved daughter for burial.
The bereaved family that hails from Kipsaos in Keiyo South, has been dealt a big blow from the loss of their daughter through a tragic accident at the waterfall as she slid and was swept away by the raging waters.
Attempts by the local divers who volunteered to search for the drowned body have borne no fruits amidst the heavy rains that continue to pound the area.
But the family is a distraught lot after the county government and police service appeared to leave the rescue mission up to them.
Luka Kiptoo Chelelgo, who is Chumba’s father expressed his concerns about how the County government as well as the police officers handled their grief.
The father of nine argued that despite the matter being reported at Mosoriot police station, police officers only visited the scene on Wednesday, three days after the case was reported.
“I came to the scene on Monday morning, but there were only the local residents and our family.
When we sought police intervention, they told us that they were mourning in their own way at the police station, while we mourned at the scene,” argued Chelelgo.
Victor Kiptoo, Chumba’s brother also faulted the County Government for failing to dispatch its disaster management team to the scene.
He said the county government had ignored them and would neither give them a helping hand in terms of providing trained divers or facilities like ropes to help in the rescue mission.
“The locals have played a significant role in the rescue operation from volunteering as divers to comforting us and even providing us with food. But the County government has only ignored us when we needed their help most,” said Kiptoo.
The family has to travel to and fro their home in Elgeyo Marakwet with their hope dimming off with every dawn.
Chelelgo said some of his neighbours had even asked him to seek cultural guidance on what to do next as it seemed they would never get their daughter’s body to bury.
“Some mourners advised me to go the cultural way in seeking my daughter’s body, but I believe God will help us find her body,” said Chelelgo.
The locals now want the Nandi government to shut down the tourist site for good or at least until reformations at the site are achieved.
They argued that they have not benefited from the site and are tired of the cries they have heard every time death strikes at the waterfall.
“Revenue is earned from this tourist attraction site, but the place is not secure for the people. There are no barriers to safeguard our lives from dangerous zones here and the bridge is broken and was mended by the locals. The holding grills are even shaky. How many more lives should we lose? Rosemary Ruto a resident.
The tourist’s attraction site according to the locals has only one security guard and has no tour guide nor diver.
As you enter the site, you will meet a warning that based on the risky nature of the site, the management will not be liable for any loss or injury to the tourists.
But the locals argue that much more can be done to ensure the safety of the people.
Joshua Rugut, another resident said that he has lived next to the waterfall since his childhood and has claimed many lives.
“The county government needs to invest in the safety of the people since revenue is earned from the many tourists that come here. We have had enough tragedies that a permanent and lasting solution must be achieved to prevent any other loss of life,” said Rugut.
Joshua Kirwa, Birbiriet location chief appealed to the county government to put in place the right infrastructure to prevent such tragedies from happening.
Chumba slipped and drowned at the waterfall while posing for a picture by her boyfriend Benjamin Kazungu.
Kazungu said that they wanted to leave the fall for lunch when the mother of one asked to take one last photo before she slid and was swept away by the raging water.
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