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25 Mar 2017

Philip Muasya, Standard Digital (Kenya)

Kenya Pipeline admit liability for oil spill leading to health complications & loss of livelihood

“Village awaits Sh300m payout for oil spill that killed life on its farms”

…Ngie Nguku sits pensively, supporting his aged frame with a walking stick but with eyes keenly trained on the speakers…and other victims of an oil spill congregated at the church for a meeting whose agenda was to announce how residents of the Thange River basin would be compensated two years after burst underground pipes leaked oil onto their land.  As a consequence of pollution from the spillage, residents have suffered chronic diseases, loss of livestock and crop failure, a liability the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), which manages the pipeline, has accepted to shoulder.

 Nguku, who lives barely 100 metres from Thange River, and whose land was inundated with oil, is keen to get funds to pay for his treatment. “I have been unable to get proper medication because I cannot afford it. My only interest is to know when they intend to compensate us so that I can seek treatment,” Nguku, 94, told us minutes before the meeting kicked off. Nguku suffers chest congestion and says at times he feels like his internal organs are on fire…

 …KPC board chairman John Ngumi says victims of the spill will begin to receive payments from this month, and noted that those who had not filed claims have little time to do so in order to be considered in the second round of payments. “We note the gravity of this incident and its impact on the lives of residents. We are committed to supporting those affected to resume their normal lives in the shortest time possible,” said Ngumi.