Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
- You will recall that on the night of 17th July 2021 a fuel tanker which was on transit burst into flames along Kisumu – Busia Highway at Malanga, North Gem Ward in Gem Sub-County.
- As a consequence, 13 lives were lost instantly and several other members of the public sustained burns injuries and were rushed to various hospitals for treatment.
- Of these patients, 9 more lost their lives while undergoing treatment at Siaya County Referral Hospital. It was observed that these patients sustained very high degrees of burns averaging above 60% of body surface which highly compromised their recovery. This brings the total fatalities from this tragedy to 22.
- Once more, I wish to send my sincere and heartfelt condolences to all the families and friends who have lost their loved ones to date as a result of this tragedy. We continue to pray that God provides you with fortitude and comfort at this difficult time of unfortunate and untimely loss of your family members.
- Today, we are laying to rest 21 of these our departed brothers and sisters. One of the victims, Mr. Kevin Odhiambo Okoth, had been buried earlier. The names of the 21 individuals we are burying today are: – Samwel Omondi Omolo, Kevin Ochieng Magoha, Alice Otieno Adhiambo, Sharon Adhiambo Omollo, Mary Atieno Ochuodho, Maureen Akinyi Wathone, Mary Adongo Okoth, Oliver Omondi Aloo, Stephen Ochieng Malowa, Odhiambo James
Owino, Isaac Mango Marenya, Dennis Otieno Odenyo, Maureen Atieno Olago, Samuel Oduor Omondi, David Omondi Okembo, Emmaculate Adhiambo Ochieng, Mary Okinda Odhiambo, Susana Auma Ochieng, Fredrick Otieno Obonyo, Vincent Oor Oloo, Pater Urime Wambo.
- As is required by law, DNA analysis was undertaken to assist in identification of bodies which were burnt beyond recognition and this was followed by postmortem examination on all bodies.
- After consultations with the affected families and the local leaders, we have agreed that each family should privately conduct burial for their loved ones without organizing mass gatherings in compliance with prevailing Covid-19 containment measures. This will help avoid large crowds that could be super spreaders of COVID-19.
- As of today Friday 6th August 2021, those still undergoing treatment as a result of the tragedy are 20, with 7 being treated at Yala Sub County Hospital while 13 are at the Siaya County Referral Hospital. 4 patients have been treated and discharged from Siaya County Referral Hospital and 1 from Inuka Hospital bringing total patients successfully treated and discharged to 5.
- All the remaining 20 patients are equally making good recovery progress and we are optimistic that they will all recover and be discharged from hospital soon. We pray that God continues to protect their lives to full recovery.
- Until now, my Government has supported all the families, in various ways, to deal with the aftermath of the fire tragedy. Apart from mobilizing for the deployment of firefighting engines and transportation of patients to hospitals during the incident, we also conducted postmortem on the bodies of the victims and secured burial coffins for all those who died. We have also supported the transportation of all the bodies to their respective homes today and will be supporting each family with a token to meet immediate needs.
- My Government has waived all charges relating to treatment and mortuary fees for all the victims. The medical bills will continue to increase with other patients still in hospital. The cumulative figure of expenses incurred to date on matters relating to this tragedy is estimated at KShs. 2,205,615.00.
- The Siaya County Disaster Management Committee consisting of National Government security organs, County Government of Siaya Officials and The Red Cross among other key stakeholders are devising both short term and long-term strategies to safeguard against such disasters in future.
- The strategies will include constant and continuous civic education among the general public on the dangers of oil tankers on transit and safety measures that need to be observed to prevent future disasters of this magnitude.
- We call on various partners including The National Government and The Kenya National Highways Authority to work with us in the promotion of these safety measures.
- Let me conclude by commending the police, the health department and the local sub county administrators for the efficient manner they have handled this disaster. Our health care workers have especially done great work taking care of the victims some of whom sustained very severe burns. We commend them for going the extra mile in their call of duties.
- May the good Lord rest the souls of the departed brothers and sisters in eternal peace.
Thank you and God Bless You.
H.E. CORNEL RASANGA AMOTH, EGH, GOVERNOR,
COUNTY GOVERNMENT OF SIAYA.