Mary Kariuki, 36, was cooking for her three children when she heard what she thought was rain.

She is one of the survivors of the Solai dam tragedy which left 48 people dead.

Kariuki said, “I had gone to the market to buy some vegetables before I passed by the nearby shop to buy a matchbox then headed home to cook for my babies aged 13, seven and two.”

“As we were talking while cooking, I heard the noise of water flowing and was happy it was raining so our crops would germinate.” 

Kariuki said she was serving her children food enjoying the meal and telling her 13-year-old Amos to eat fast and do his homework because the rains were coming.

“I went outside to see that my containers were in a good place so I could fetch water.”

Kariuki said she could not see any sign of rain.

“I got scared and looked around to see what was happening, causing the sound of rain when actually there were no signs,” she said.

Kariuki said when she went behind the house, she couldn’t see anything. She got worried and decided to contact a neigbour to inspect houses with her.

“On looking at the top of the hill, we spotted a lot of floodwater flowing towards where we were and in a microsecond, I rushed to the house to pick my two-year-old and ran for safety,” she said amid tears.

Kariuki then shouted to the other two to run and follow her. She said she ran across the road towards Subukia town. After running a few metres, she realised the other children did not follow her.

Waombeeeni! Eight dead, tens missing after Nakuru’s Patel Dam bursts

Kariuki wanted to go back for them but when she looked behind, she saw a rage of water flowing from the top of the hill. She could go back to search for the children.

“I prayed to God to guard them. I could not imagine the worst happening to them. For one minute, I stood still. It was like a blackout. I couldn’t think or move an inch,” said the single mother.

“The whole night I was there praying. When it dawned on me it was obvious they were no more, I couldn’t hold my tears. I asked God many questions: Why me?” Kariuki said.

She hopes to find the bodies of her loved ones at least give them a decent burial.


The Star