Nancy Pyatich, a fourth-year student pursuing BSc. In Education at Moi University, has come out to reveal the harrowing ordeals she went through, after being swept away by floods in West Pokot.
Speaking with Wakajuaness. Com during an interview, the 23-year-old Pyatich remembers the fateful day which she says is still vivid and fresh in her memory as if it was yesterday.
“I was in our shop when it started raining before we heard funny sounds from the river,” Nancy starts her story.
According to Pyatich, it was a normal day for her until she went to her local shopping center when the rains began to fall before she heard unusual sounds, which she later learnt were of some people running away from the center.
They warned her of the looming danger, that things might not be good and she should look for safety. Consequently, Pyatich told her brother, a second-last born, to go and collect all the valuables they could carry.
She went with the young boy to collect academic credentials, some money they had saved, and other necessities. She goes on to explain how she frighteningly ran with the young boy towards the direction villagers were seeking safety.
The shopping center Pyatich and her village mates spent most of their time is in the border of Marakwet and Pokot, which is separated by a river. Due to the imminent danger, she and her group decided to cross over to Marakwet, but that was not to be.
“Apparently, we wanted to go cross that river and run to Marakwet but when we were almost there, we saw a lot of water carrying logs, stones, and iron sheets. On seeing that, we ran in the opposite direction,” she reveals.
Pyatich reveals how she and a big crowd of people ran helter-skelter to save their lives from the raging flood. Looking around, she saw the flood had covered almost 1.5 km diameter, and almost lost hope were it not for her young brother who was right behind her in the run.
She saw people climbing trees in an attempt to save their lives, and thought that they had found a savior, before trying to climb the tree. She says the water was flowing towards them at a high speed.
“I climbed the tree but when I reached where it had branches, I heard our 10-year-old last born crying to me, asking why I had climbed up yet he can’t. I really pitied him. His eyes were almost popping out due to fear,” Pyatich says, going on to reveal that guilt filled her heart.
“A thought crossed my mind. I asked myself: What if he would be carried away by the water and be dead? Won’t I feel guilty in the future? After contemplating that, I jumped down from the tree and it’s by the grace of God that I didn’t break my leg or even my spine while jumping. We then started running with him and some other people who were scared of climbing the tree.” Pyatich adds.
She explains how she ran with the lad until he started crying and calling her name, telling her that he couldn’t run anymore. Pyatich cried too and prayed. They were unfortunately caught up by the raging floods.
“I saw an iron sheet being carried by water at a high speed towards my side. I dodged it by getting inside water because it would have chopped off my neck and due to that, it caught up with my right ear and cut it,” Nancy stated, adding that the flood immediately intensified and she found herself being swept away.
She only remembers being hit by a stone on her forehead before she became unconscious. Later, regaining consciousness, she found herself submerged in mud, feeling paralyzed while trying to call for help, which came later after around 48 hours.
It is at that moment, looking back at what had happened, that she feels grateful to God.
“Being rolled up and down for a distance of almost 7km and getting out of there without a broken limb, broken hand, neck and skull. My God is full of grace. He reigns forever. To God be the glory. Amen.” Pyatich praised.
She is currently recuperating at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, and now she is in a stable condition.
Pyatich reveals that mudslides occurred due to global warming (intense heat to the earth’s surface) and human activities such as tree cutting. She advises people to plant more trees to curb such a case in the future.
Pyatich is thankful and feeling triumphant, she attributes her escape and that of her brother from the jaws of death to her prayers and God’s intervention.