Rachel Ruto Confirms 8 Of Her Guests Drowned In Flooded Makueni River
The eight were swept away while attempting to cross a swollen River Muooni on their way from Kavuthu to Mutyambua.
First Lady Rachel Ruto has reacted to a tragedy where eight people reported to have attended her 14th Anniversary of the Joyful Women Organization (JOYWO) at the Kasarani Stadium on Thursday in Nairobi drowned in a flooded river while on their way home.
In a statement on her social media platforms on Friday, November 24, she recounted receiving information regarding the unfortunate incident, confirmed by Red Cross officials in Makueni County after the eight were swept away while attempting to cross a swollen River Muooni on their way from Kavuthu to Mutyambua.
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the unfortunate incident that has happened to some of our Joyful Women members from Makueni County," she stated in part.
An image of flooded waters at River Muooni along Kavuthu-Mutyambua Road. /CITIZEN DIGITAL
"I have been informed that the members travelling back from the Joyful Women 14th Anniversary celebrations held at Kasarani Stadium on 23rd November 2023, were swept away while trying to cross River Muooni on foot.
The First Lady went on to add "On my behalf and that of Joyful Women Organization, I sincerely express my utmost sympathies to the affected families. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends at this difficult time."
Viral Tea learnt that the incident occurred at around 10 pm as the eight attempted to cross the river which was already overrun by the floods.
We earlier attempted to reach the Office Of The First Lady to confirm the reports and were informed that officials were at the time verifying if they were true.
Meanwhile, at least three bodies out of the eight missing persons were recovered in a search and rescue mission launched after the tragedy occurred.
Officials said the search for more bodies was ongoing at the time of updating this story.
Many other people were unable to cross and reach their homes as the river was overwhelmed by the floodwaters, according to police and locals.
Kenya Red Cross Makueni County officials said they had deployed a rescue and search team to the area.
Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Jr was among the first to eulogize the victims, adding that the tragedy followed a similar one where three people drowned in the river a fortnight ago.
"Yesterday in the evening, we received reports that eight people tried crossing the Muooni River. At midriver, water swelled, and currents swept them. From the reports I have received this morning, five people have already been identified. My condolences to the families who have lost the 8," Mutula mourned.
Floods have killed more than 70 people and displaced many in the past weeks, with the Kenya Meteorological Department warning of more rains in the coming days.
Some 33 out of 47 counties have been affected, but Makueni is one of the most affected counties.
So far, at least 16 people in Makueni have died as a result of the ongoing El Nino rains, according to a report from the Red Cross and the County Strategic Unit.