Kenya: Quarry Blasts – Bobasi Residents Decry Destruction of Houses, Loss of Livelihoods

The blasts have left a trail of destruction, perforating roofs on most houses nearby/CFM/Rosemary Onchari

By Rosemary Onchari

9 June 2020

Kisii — Residents in Kisii’s Nyamonema area bordering Bobasi and Bonchari constituencies have renewed calls for regulation of stone quarries in the area amid concerns over quarry blasts closer to their homes.

The blasts have left a trail of destruction, perforating roofs on most houses nearby.

Jared Nyachio, a resident in the area, accused local government officials in the area of sideling with the quarry owners to exploit the poor.

Recent blasts on Monday tore iron roofs of at least five houses.

The shocks caused by the blasts has also affected livelihoods with dairy cow owners reporting a decline in milk production. A similar trend has been observed among poultry farmers who said hens had stopped laying eggs.

“Today’s blasts caught me off guard, my house is just 200m from the quarry and all those huge stone have destroyed my house,” Nyachio told Capital FM News.

He noted previous blasts which occurred three weeks left most of his iron sheets torn by projectiles from the mines, yet quarry officials only provided a half of the iron sheets for replacement.

Moraa Ratemo, a 70-year-old resident, said she voiced similar concerns saying the blasts had affected her physiologically. She also expressed concern saying she now risked losing her hearing.

“I can’t sleep at night, the blasts have poisoned my mind I plead with the government to help us, “she cried out.

Risper Moraa, yet another resident, said her iron sheets were tone exposing members of the household to untold suffering during rains.

“My house rains inside and the quarry officials only replaced a half of the iron sheets as they keep me waiting for next time,” she cried.

Moraa said her expectant cousin lost her unborn baby as a result of the blasts, having given birth prematurely.

Women in the area have linked an increased number of reported miscarriages to the blasting in nearby mines.

Bobasi MP innocent Obiri has filed a petition in court seeking the arrest and prosecution of individuals operating the mines.


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