Nine killed, six injured as Migori mine caves in

Wednesday, July 10th, 2024 12:37 | By
Gold mines in Migori.PHOTO/PRINT

At least nine people were killed and six others injured when a gold mine collapsed in Kanga, Rongo within Migori County yesterday afternoon.

The assistant chief of West Kanyamkago sub-location George Ochieng Omuono said that at least 15 people were inside Choopper gold mining site which is about 600 feet deep when one of the shaft caved in.

Six of them were rescued by their colleagues, according to the police.

Preliminary reports indicated that three of the victims sustained serious injuries and have been identified as Francis Wachira who sustained head injuries and multiple fractures; Victor Otieno Owiro who sustained a fractured right leg among other injuries; and Barasa Babu who also sustained serious injuries including a fractured left leg.

“They were rushed to Rongo Sub-County hospital where they are admitted in a serious condition,” the local police commander said.

Other survivors who escaped with minor injuries are Otieno Onyango, Victor Okinyi, Erick Oluoch who were treated at the same hospital and later discharged.

By yesterday evening, the County Government of Migori Disaster Unit and the local miners were going on with the rescue operations.

Trapped in mine

Police have not released the names of the persons who are trapped inside the collapsed mine. Relatives of the victims spent the night at the scene, about 3km from Kitere Police Station. Dozens of people have been killed and others injured in several mines across the country.

In March, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki banned mining of gold in Nyatike after six miners are killed.

The CS visited the area and said small illegal artisinal mining sites in the area posed grave public safety risks resulting in deaths when mine shafts cave in.

The directive by the CS which also banned unlicenced commercial mining, came just a week after two people died following another collapse.

“To ensure regularised artisanal mining that meets public safety and environmental standards, the Government has banned all artisanal mining activities as well as unlicenced commercial mining, the minister said.

The area is among those with gold deposits and hence attracts residents who venture there to make a living.

Similar incidents have also been reported in other parts of the country including in Lirhembe village, Ikolomani in Kakamega county and another in Manyatta village, Vihiga county.

Miners have put their lives at risk in search of gold, especially in Pokot. In Pokot, the most affected areas are around River Sukut between Tangasia and Kapsangar locations where young boys drop out of school and resort to mining.

Some of these accidents have been attributed to the unsafe use of heavy machines to crush stones in the antisanal activities, overlooking the environmental impact. The machineries make the sites weak and unsafe for the miners, according to officials.

To deal with some of these challenges, the government has also directed that those involved in mining activities to stop operations for the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to conduct an environmental impact assessment to give the ecological guidelines before mining operations can resume.

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