President Mwai Kibaki Friday helped to raise over Kshs 64.8 million in aid of the Faza Island fire victims.
Speaking at the fundraising held at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, President Kibaki thanked Government ministries, parastatals, the private sector and individuals who donated generously towards assisting those affected by the fire disaster.
The President, who made a personal donation of Kshs 3 million, said contributions should continue until all the houses that were gutted down by fire are built afresh.
"We should continue in this spirit because we want to ensure that we rebuild all the houses destroyed by the fire," President Kibaki said.
Conveying his sympathies to the residents of Faza Island for the loss caused by the fire, President Kibaki noted that the destruction of houses and personal property is a great loss.
In this regard, the President said Faza Island residents should be assisted to resume their normal lives.
"I received the news of the fire tragedy in Faza Island with a great sense of sorrow. I have fond memories of this beautiful Island that is one among four in the larger Lamu," President Kibaki said.
The Head of State assured the people of Faza Island that the Government is with them at this time of need, adding that apart from the fundraising other long-term measures will be put in place to ensure that fires do not recur.
Said the President: "We meet here therefore united on the need to make immediate interventions to help the people of Faza Island. We are also gathered here determined to help the people of the Island with a long term solution to the challenges they face."
Noting that Faza Island is home to a rich history, President Kibaki said the rich natural history found in the region should be safeguarded.
In this connection, President Kibaki appealed to local leaders, the Lamu County Council and residents to come up with innovative ways of constructing houses.
"We should improvise the use of local and other materials and make them less prone to fire incidents," President Kibaki said.
The President also assured the people of Lamu that the Government is fully committed to opening up the region, saying plans to put up modern infrastructure including a new port, modern airport and other infrastructure are at an advanced stage.
"We do this because we are committed to equitable development of all parts of the country," the Head of State said.
Speaking during the occasion, Prime Minister Raila Odinga assured Faza residents that the Government will continue supplying them with food and other necessities until those affected resume normal lives.
The Prime Minister expressed the need to redesign buildings in Faza and use alternative building materials that are less prone to fire.
The Premier further disclosed that the Government is putting in place measures geared towards coping with disasters in all parts of the country.
On his part, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said the military should be empowered to help wananchi in dealing with disasters.
"For example, we need to empower the Air Force to fight fires from the air," the Vice-President said.
Other speakers included Internal Security Minister Prof. George Saitoti, Special Programmes Minister Dr. Naomi Shaban and Assistant Minister Abu Chiabu who is also the Chairman of the Faza Island Fundraising committee.
The fundraising was also attended by several Ministers, Assistant Ministers, senior Government officials and members of the private sector among others.
Fri, Sep 11, 2009