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15 people buried alive in Kakamega tragedy

Fifteen people have been buried alive in the Kakamega gold mine tragedy that occurred on Thursday night.

Gold mining in Migori. (Migori County Government)

A gold mine collapsed and buried 15 people alive in Sigalagala village in Kakamega county.

According to a statement issued by the National Police Service (NPS), the incident occurred at 2:00 am on Thursday, 8.

The police reported that eight people have already been rescued from the tragedy, while seven others are still trapped in the mine.

"This morning at around 2:00 am, a goldmine caved in, burying 15 young men in Sigalagala Village in Kakamega County.

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"NPS officers and county government officers, together with emergency response teams from the county, Red Cross and the locals, are on the scene helping with the rescue mission," reads the statement.

The rescue teams are currently underway to save the seven people trapped in the mine, according to the police.

The eight survivors have been taken to the hospital for treatment.

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In early 2021, a renowned firm discovered gold deposits in western Kenya, thus promising the residents a better future.

Since then, people have embraced mining as an economic activity to make a decent living.

However, there have been collapsing cases in the region, with a few succumbing and others badly injured.

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Due to their poor working conditions, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) recently warned the residents to be careful and avoid the health risks associated with the mines.

Most workers need safety tools such as ear plugs, glasses, masks, gloves and gumboots to extract gold from the mines.

In 2021, a gold mine collapsed in the Abimbo area in Siaya county and trapped eight people. Two of them succumbed, while six were rescued.

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Three of the recused people were pulled out after six days of continuous search.

Meanwhile, in October 2021, two deaths and several injuries were recorded at the copper mines in Migori county.

In May 2021, five people died, while several others were seriously injured after the collapse of the Ikolomani mine in Kakamega county.

Gold mining in Kenya is a significant economic activity that provides employment opportunities to thousands of people and contributes to the country's GDP.

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It is, therefore, necessary to look at and tackle the challenges that the miners face head-on.

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