WHY IS IT THAT OUR DISASTER MANAGEMENT TEAMS ARE CAUGHT FLAT FOOTED? WHY IS IT THAT KENYANS LEARNS HARD FROM PAST INCIDENCES? By Mungai

Following the sudden and almost two coincidental tragic fire infernos tragedies

Which sunked the lives of our brothers and sisters the country has delivered in a somber and mourning mood. Grief has griped the entire country. It’s a tragedy that will go down in history as where the number of those who have perished is almost to tallying to 180.

Some people have not yet traced their relatives. And they don’t have any cue at so ever where they are whether they were consumed by the inferno beyond recognition only D.N.A tests will reveal.

Whether these fire infernos were caused by man-made errors or just accidental, they were horrific which spills cold shivers down the spine, and a big blow to the country, a country which hasn’t yet healed from past incidences, that’s, post election violence, famine and political instabilities.

But, it seems as if tragedies thrives and co-exist in our midst, and, it’s quite unfortunate that e as Kenyans we aren’t luck y enough to avoid these incidences. They held us back, hinders and thus we can’t prosper in our daily lives. They seem to be fast tracking in our tracks with each an every move we make.

I think it’s high time we rise out of the blues, recollect ourselves, meditate on our lives, and pray to the ALMIGHTY GOD to forgive us for the any wrong doing we have committed because calamities are hovering on us. We need to beat a hasty retreat and change the course of our direction if we may trespass of derailed in our course.

But, before we comment any further, we must deliver our sincere condolesence messages to all our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers who lost their beloved ones in those two infernos. We mostly feel those innocent lives that perished, and, we pray to our HEAVENLY FATHER to rest their souls at eternal peace. To the departed victims, it was an accident, as they were trying to make a move in their daily engagements as part of their lives, where as others were trying to cash in a fine fortune.

And in a simple layout of how these tragedies befell on us, the hell broke loose on a cool Thursday 29th January, afternoon, at the ever busy Nakumatt downtown supermarket which is located at the heart of Nairobi Central business district. Most people were busy engaged in their daily adjustments, where others were busy shopping at the supermarket. And, to most of them they weren’t having any notion of what awaited them at the next opportune moment.

Of what started out as normal power blackout, turned to be abnormal. And, to most survivors, they said that they felt an unusual heat, and to attendants, they said that the appliances that use electricity had an abnormal flow of current. Then, in a flash of a second the generators blew up throwing everything in disarray.

villagers in that neighbourhood came in droves to draw what they termed as free oil, and they had to cash on it. The policemen tried to restrict them, but, their warning fell on deaf ear as non could hear it at all. The cops were totally overwhelmed by the big multitude of the people scrambling for the rare commodity.

But, as fate would have it their wishes went up in flames, as a certain lunatic, out of mind person avenged after he was restricted from drawing the oil. He ignited the fire with a matchbox. And, in a strike of a second, tanker, its surroundings where petrol had spilled, exploded in balls of flame.

The intensity of the fire was far much beyond, as most victims were burnt alive and beyond recognition.

Others are still nursing serious degrees of burns in their bodies as they needs specialized treatment. And, what had turned out as a free oil, turned tragic and grief to the nation because of ignorance, greed and recklessness.

But, why is it that our disaster management teams are always caught unaware and flat footed when such incidences occur? And why is it that we as Kenyans learn hard from past incidences, where we don’t exercise caution to prevail upon our common senses to work?

According to Daily Nations columnist, Macharia Gaitho, while commenting on Molo disaster, on February 3, wrote that ….What the oil tanker inferno reveals is not much the poverty in Kenya, but the greed that has become the national philosophy. Whether super-rich or dirt poor Kenyan will forever be in scramble to get something for nothing, and in many cases, all sense will be cast aside in the rush to grab more than the other fellow.

He further stated that…………. The Molo disaster stands as a classic example of where caution and common sense gives away to pure greed. Even as we mourn the loss of life, let us not be so hypocritical as to ignore that those who died were not innocent victims of some unavoidable accident but mostly victims of their own greed and recklessness.

This national traits is not confined to the poor, but has been in calculated as National ethics by those in positions of power and responsibility. The national ethos holds that is perfectly in order to enrich yourself not just by hard work and sacrifice but by taking what does not belong to you…he stated

The whole supermarket was engulfed with a fierce fire, as the whole building was thrown in total darkness coupled by the toxic fumes that was been emitted by the chemical substances in the supermarket. The gas cylinders further fueled the already raging fire.

Most shoppers were caught unaware and flat footed inside the stores. Frantic efforts were made to rescue those who were trapped in the engulfed supermarket, but, the raging fires hampered those efforts.

The Nairobi City Council, fire brigade unit, was caught unaware despite been a few metres away, also, it couldn’t manage to contain the inferno, and private firms, military police, airport fire units had to step in to reinforce the almost overpowered city councils fire unit.

After the fire was contained, one thing that came to the fore, as it opened an old chapter which has been highlighted over and over that our disaster management preparedness is rather wanting. We don’t have any disaster management team that handles, coordinates and manages any disaster that arises. We only wait for until a disaster to happen and strike so as to respond of which it tends to have a heavy tool on us.

…………The Molo disaster was another distratrous fire tragedy which happened on Saturday 31st January. A fuel tanker lorry, transporting highly inflammable petrol as its loads, overturned on the busy Nakuru-Eldoret highway, at a place called Sachang’wen, in Molo district.

And, as is the norm with such a case if it presents itself, it turns out to be on opportunity for free oil gushing out.


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