Humanitarian Car Crash
A fatal accident on the Lodwar-Kakuma highway results in one death and five injured.
2010-11 Winter Quarterly Issue
On December 2010, an International Rescue Committee (IRC) vehicle overturned along the Lodwar — Kakuma road resulting in one death and five injured. The vehicle was approximately 30 kilometers from Lodwar heading towards Kakuma when the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle.
Several passengers who were traveling in a matatu arrived on the scene minutes after the accident. “My fellow passengers and I discovered the injured lying on the ground around the overturned vehicle in various states of pain and consciousness,” said one passenger. Nearby Turkanas had also come to the site of the accident.
Lacking emergency equipment and medical expertise, the victims did not receive assistance in time but were assisted by other travelers who waved down a vehicle to transport the injured to Lodwar. Debris from the accident was scattered in a wide radius around the vehicle, which was itself tossed some 30 meters from the roadway, landing on its roof.
The accident highlighted the dangers in traveling on Kenya’s roadways with their unexpected potholes and obstacles. Given matatu passengers’ reports that the IRC vehicle had earlier overtaken their matatu at high speed, it is reasonable to assume that speed was also a factor in the accident.
KANERE approached the IRC Office at Kakuma in regards to accident, but the officer concerned was not ready to provide information of public interest, citing organizational policy in matters of addressing the press. “One died and five were injured but I cannot give names of the passengers encountered in the accident without authorization from the IRC Program Coordinator,” stated a national staff member who requested anonymity.
When the IRC Program Coordinator was consulted over the phone by his junior management within the sector, he declined to give statements to the Press. “The report is not ready and I cannot speak out,” said the IRC Coordinator.
The Kitale – Kakuma highway is the only road that connects the remote and arid desert region to the rest of the Kenya. The maintenance of roadways is a major issue in this part of the world, as floods and broken bridges pose continual obstacles to food security, business, and travels in the region. Similar accidents have frequently been reported along these roads, instilling fear in the hundreds of travelers who must brave the unreliable roadways.
People, goods, and services are transported in steady daily flows northward from Kenyan cities, including the capital. The public buses that ply this route, most commonly the Dayah and Eldoret Express lines, regularly break down as a result of overloading passengers and cargo in the hopes of getting richer in a day. The unreliable bus service also causes major delays in passengers’ journeys, who are often forced to spend three or more days en route between Kakuma and Kitale, the nearest major transport hub. The situation calls for better maintenance from the Kenyan Ministry of Roads and Transportation, and police based in the region should monitor the aftermath of such deadly accidents that pose dangers to the travelers’ lives.