Two serious fire tragedies in Kenya in a span of only five days!
On Sunday (February 1st), a tanker carrying petroleum overturned on the highway just after Nakuru. Villagers, farmers, motorcycle taxi drivers, people from a nearby IDP camp, women, and children flocked to the scene with jerry cans in order to salvage some of the fuel for themselves. Someone foolishly lit a match and flames instantly erupted into a ball of fire. Over 100 people perished, among them 16 children who were nearby playing soccer at the time of the accident. Some policemen who were called to patrol the scene also died.
Nearly 200 were severely injured! Expert doctors have flown in from the States and India to deal with the burns.
Greed, ignorance, and poverty likely all combined to draw people to such a dangerous site. Many counselors, medics, and journalists have said it's the worst disaster they've ever been a part of.
I frequently go past the spot when I travel to my place at Matunda, even as recently as last Thursday, January 29th.
Wednesday, January 28, one of the Nakumatts in downtown Nairobi burned down. So far 26 people have been identified as victims of the fire. Many more have been reported missing and as many as 40 are feared dead.
The city firefighters were woefully unprepared for such an intense and fierce fire. Fire hydrants either ran out of water or were not functioning. Hoses sprayed water out of control and/or leaked. The fire station is a mere five minutes away from the site, but it took the firemen 15 minutes to arrive. Private fire-fighting firms came to the rescue.
One fire exit had a wall in front of it. Like most buildings and homes in Kenya, all the windows had iron grills in front of them. The ever-present security guards attempted to close the main entrance and exit in this 24-hour grocery store to prevent looting.
As one friend stated it, "Nairobi, a city of 3.5 million residents, has the appearance of a modern city. However, such incidences as this are an indication that it is not."
There was also a bus that crashed and burned recently on the highway to Mombasa. There were 29 fatalities. As you know, I just recently traveled that same highway (in December).
According to one of the local newspapers there are 15-20 times the number of motor vehicle fatalities in developing nations (like Kenya) as there are in Western countries.
Please use these incidents (as I do) to be reminded of the importance of praying for me!
I thank God for his continued protection in my life.