Parents want thorough probe on Moi Girls’ fire tragedy

Parents at Moi Girls’ High School, Nairobi where eight students perished in a fire tragedy on Friday night have called for thorough investigations into what transpired on the fateful night. The parents association’s chair, Charles Odhiambo, led colleagues in calling for speedy investigations even as he revealed that 19 police detectives are probing the root cause of the fire at Kabarnet dormitory which housed 300 students, most of whom were in Form One. “We are calling for speedy investigations into this matter that has left many parents crashed. It is an incident that has never been experienced in the school and it is until the investigations are concluded that we can prescribe any action,” he said. According to Odhiambo, the school had this year admitted 337 Form One students who were distributed in various dormitories but majority were in the affected dormitory. The students had reported back to school on Monday and sat their entry examinations which ended on Friday.

Meanwhile, five students who had been admitted with injuries were yesterday discharged from the Nairobi Women’s Hospital. The hospital told the media that out of 51 girls that had been admitted to the hospital, only five remained with two having major burns. Nairobi Women’s Hospital Chief Executive Dr Felix Wanjala, in a briefing yesterday, said three of the five would be discharged today while two will remain in their care for three weeks. “One of the girls has 66 per cent burns and will be transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital for reconstructive surgery while the other has 18 per cent burns on the body,” he said. The school was on Saturday closed for two weeks with Form Four students expected back in a week’s time to continue preparing for exams. The Moi Girls’ tragedy has brought to the fore concerns of safety in schools with several incidences reported in various parts of the country in the past. In 1998, 26 students at Bombolulu Girls’ Secondary School died in a dormitory inferno. In 1999, four prefects at Nyeri High School died when they were locked in their cubicle by other students and set on fire while in 2001, 68 boys of Kyanguli Secondary School perished in their dormitory in a night inferno. In 2008, a student died at Upper Hill Secondary School following a dormitory fire while in 2015, two students at Steph Joy, a private school in Kiambu County, died and 10 others were injured in similar circumstances. Last year, there were 483 incidents of unrest in secondary schools, which included 239 cases of fire. There 429 cases of unrest reported in second term with 1,075 suspects arrested, out of which 1,029 were students. Last year, a government-led taskforce recommended drastic measures to curb such incidences. The findings of the report included that dormitories in most schools had no emergency exits. It is, however, not clear whether the recommendation have been implemented by the Ministry of Education. However, the ministry has since committed to cater for the medical bills of the affected students.

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