Survivors recount new year Frere town fire tragedy

frere townLubna Nassir sitted in (bui bui) flanked by Mombasa County Youth Assembly President Mubarak Hamed Mubarak (in kanzu) and some of the fire tragedy affected families / PETER KOMBE

A one-month-old baby is among 17 children rescued in a rental house fire tragedy that housed 14 families in Frere town ward Mombasa County on the 31st December 2020.

According to the baby’s mother Georgina Okumu, a tenant, the fire started some minutes before midnight when the infant was fast asleep.

She says she mysteriously managed to rescue the baby rushing him out of the house safely.

“I do not understand how I managed to rescue my one-month-old son. It is all by God’s Grace,” lamented the thirty-five years mother.

Another tenant, Joseph Onyango, the cause of the fire is yet to be established.

Also Read: Residents call on NLC to intervene in Buxton housing project

The tenants were addressing Jumuiya News on Friday, January 8 at Freetown.

Mr Onyango adds that all the tenants had moved out of the house when the fire broke out.

“As we speak today the cause of the fire is yet to be established. We are lucky to be alive,” said Onyango,” said the tenant.

He says everything in the 14 roomed house was burnt to ashes during the fire tragedy.

“We are fortunate that no one was injured. As you can see it is all ash everywhere,” said Onyango.

Politicians silent on tragedy

He called on donors and well-wishers to come in and salvage the situation adding “some neighbours’ good Samaritans have sheltered us ever since this incident happened one week ago. No politician has responded to our distress call?”

Meanwhile, Lubna Nassir, an activist, lashed out at local leaders on going silent on the Frere town fire tragedy.

She accused them on claims of failing what she says is their prime responsibility to serve the electorates.

“What type of leadership is this? I expect to see our leaders at the frontline. It is one week now since the incident happened,”

The activist who had visited the affected families of the Frere town tragedy a second time to donate relief food among other supplies called on the county government to set aside a specific place to house the victims of the fire tragedy.

She notes there is a need for donors and well-wishers to come on board and rescue the 14 families left homeless.

“There are so many halls and public places that all these families can be housed. More so they have no food, shelter or clothing. It is a pity!”

Failure by county disaster management

At the same time, Mombasa County Youth Assembly President Mubarak Hamed Mubarak lashed out at the county fire brigade for what he claims is ‘failing to respond to the emergency at the right time.

Hamed urged the county disaster management team to immediately respond to the tragedy by settling down the affected families.

“I’m deeply faulting the county fire brigade. They arrived here very late and when they came they claimed they were running short of water,” lamented Mubarak.

He fails to understand why local leaders have failed to understand why the local leadership has not responded to their (victims) call.

However, he commended the Red Cross for the assessment they conducted on the damage caused by the fire.

About the Author

Peter Kombe
Peter Kombe is a Mombasa based Journalist with an eye for the unique untold human interest stories. Hobbies Reading, travelling and meeting new friends.

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