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Friday, 14 October 2011

The Anchor October 2011: Mwala wildlife victims compensated

Mwala wildlife
victims get cash

Four victims attacked by wild animals in Mwala district have received Sh 200,000 from the Kenya wild life service [KWS] as consolation for the injuries they suffered.

  Each victim got Sh 50,000, according to Deputy Warden in charge of the larger machakos region Mr. Simon Wachuri who named them as Beatrice Maingi, Mathina Mule, Katile Ntheka and Julius Mutio.

  The cash which was in form of a single cheque was presented to district commissioner Ms Florence Amoit by Mr. Wachuri in her office. The DC assured the victims who were present in the company of relatives that they will be able to access real cash  after the cheque matured.

  Mule and Beatrice were bitten by snakes while Mutio and Katile were mauled by mongoose and crocodile respectively, Mr. Wachuri who was flanked by a colleague Sergeant Ambrose Kimeu said.

  KWS, the game warden said, offered Sh 50,000 as the standard rate for all forms of injuries while the death of a person caused by the animals attracted Sh 200,000.

  The DC felt it was unfair for KWS to standardize the sum for Injuries arguing the same did not occur in uniformity. She said certain animals were more ferocious in attacks than others were.

  Mr. Wachuri concurred with her drawing parallel between a snake bite and being mauled by a crocodile or hippopotamus which usually crushes victims to death or leaves them seriously maimed.

She said it were better if KWS classified the injuries and award the consolation accordingly taking into consideration the severity aspect to guarantee the victims fairness.

  She said awarding sh 50,000 to a victim who gets slight injury and similar amount to another whose limbs were maimed by wild animals was unfair.

  Reacting to the DC’s comments, Mr. Wachuri hoped KWS will consider reviewing the rates to reflect the level of injuries.  ‘’For death caused by wild animals, KWS had gotten proposals from stakeholders to hike the sum from Sh 200,000 to Sh 1,000,000  but no agreement has been reached yet,’’ he noted.

  He said before 2003, consolation for loss of human life stood at a paltry Sh 30,000 but the sum was raised to Sh 200,000 following recommendation by the government which he said marked some progress.

  ‘’The tokens offered by KWS to victims of attacks by wild animals shouldn’t be mistaken as compensation or payment for loss of human life. It [KWS] consoles but cannot pay for loss of human life which is sacred,’’ Mr. Wachuri clarified.

  He said processing of dues for the 8-year old primary school pupil who was killed by a crocodile at Ngulini village recently after venturing into river Athi was deferred after her next of kin failed to submit application.

  ‘’Her immediate family stands to loose the Sh 200,000 if the maternal and paternal relatives do not cease quarreling over who should receive the money,’’ Mr. Wachuri noted adding both parents were separated which invited the conflict.

  He said it be a loss should the family be forced to forfeit the cash due to the misunderstanding.

  He advised those who get attacked by wild animals to ensure they obtain a p 3 form, visit accredited medical doctor for examination and filling of the form and after that report and avail the documents to KWS from where the victims are issued with application forms to be considered for cash award depending on if its injury or death.

  He said victims who fail to observe the procedure end up losing the benefits.

  He said clashes between people and wild animals become more possible during the hot spell when they are forced to venture out in search of water. ‘’That is the time snakes invade peoples’ homes looking for water resulting in increased bites,’’ the warden explained adding hippos and crocodiles on their part turn hostile to people who invade their habitats to draw water or for other purpose.

  He cautioned parents against allowing young children to go swimming at water sources unaccompanied citing the possibility of being attacked by crocodiles, hippos and snakes.

  The DC urged KWS to sensitize the public on existence of the fund, saying majority of the citizens were unaware it existed explaining why many victims attacked by wild animals don’t pursue the money.

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