Bodies of all Budalangi boat tragedy victims recovered
04 September 2014, 10:53
Budalangi - The team that has been searching for Budalangi boat tragedy victims has managed to retrieve bodies of all the nine people who drowned last week.
The latest bodies to be recovered belonged to Vitalis Olobo, a former Form Three student at John Osogo Secondary school who was also the operator of the ill-fated boat, and Fredrcik Ogungo, a class three pupil at Rugunga Primary school.
They were recovered shortly before 7pm on Wednesday, bringing the number of people who perished in the accident to nine.
“It has been a tiresome and grueling exercise but we thank God and the spirits of the dead for enabling us to finally recover all bodies. They can now be given their last respect in a dignified manner and their relatives and friends can now live in peace,” said Stephen Osogo, the search team leader.
The dead were among 18 passengers who had boarded the boat from Siginga village to cross to Mau Mau village, a few kilometers across the river.
“Though we have lost our beloved ones, it brings peace in our hearts because we can now bury them according to our traditions and culture. This has given us a chance to pay our last respect to our beloved ones,” said Eunice Mang’oli who lost five family members in the tragedy.
Busia County Assembly Minority Leader, Moses Mamai appealed to the national and county governments to offer counseling to traumatised families that lost their loved ones.
He also criticized the national government for their lackluster response to the tragedy and observed that failure to send trained search unit showed lack of interest for the people of Budalang’i.
“Just think of the mother who lost her three children and the family that lost five members. Survivors of the catastrophe also need counselling after experiencing this near-death tragedy,” he said.
Busia County Deputy Governor, Kizito Wangalwa said the county government will petition Parliament to discuss a bill that will compel the national government to construct a bridge in River Nzoia to curb such accidents in future.
Wangwala explained that the county government lacks enough fund to finance the construction of the bridge saying they need support from the central unit and urged well-wishers to come on board and help in the construction of the much needed bridge.
“Retired President Mwai Kibaki promised that his government would construct a bridge here in Siginga but it’s now more than four years and there is no sign that this will be done soon. We don’t want more people to lose their lives again. As a county government, we will compel the national government to construct the bridge,” he said.
Wangwala promised that the county government will foot all hospital bills of the survivors, mortuary bills and funeral expanses of the deceased.
The bodies of the victims were taken to Port Victoria District Mortuary awaiting burial.
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