Kenyans React To Flooding Emotions In Nairobi
Kenyans, particularly Nairobians, can be described as influential people who wear their hearts on their sleeves and an action oriented lot. We have been blessed to receive the long rains, which started sometime in March and are expected to end in June with a reception to the cold season. However the rains haven’t been very much of a blessing to the residents of Nairobi and they are up in arms for this situation to change.
I went to the streets to get how they put these traits to play on this issue of floods in the CBD and in residential areas. Some Nairobians share their views below:
I feel [they] are a threat to citizens especially with cholera outbreak in Nairobi and also could cause water borne diseases to people living in slums.
What do you think are the major causes of floods in the CBD? It is caused by poor drainage systems.
What [solutions] would you recommend?
Governors or people in power could order repair of broken down gutters, provide alternative routes for flooded roads. The government should look into it before people lose their lives due to water borne diseases, motorists on the other hand should identify flooded routes and avoid them. A lot can be done in terms of educating people how to conserve the drainage systems by not clogging them with takataka (rubbish), encourage them not to build houses kwa mteremko haha (slopes), and donate gumboots to slum kids,
Wekati: Nairobi is a business hub in East and Central Africa and a choice destination for most visitors of the region. In my opinion, the fact that “the green city in the sun” can be brought to a standstill due to floods and the leadership get caught flat-footed is completely unacceptable albeit it being a natural phenomena. Meteorological department gave an early warning and we therefore should have been better prepared. I think the major cause of floods in the CBD is planning, of lack of it thereof. The initial plan did not anticipate a surge in Nairobi’s population as has been the case. The resources have been overstretched. Everybody moves to Nairobi looking for greener pastures. There are too many people in Nairobi. Structures are being built along the course the river and in the process diverting it into the CBD. The authorities have argued that the drainage systems have been clogged by residents but that is debatable. Honestly I did not expect such an outcome in regard to the floods. Moving forward I hope the authorities would be better prepared for any such eventualities. The residents on the other hand ought to be responsible when it comes to dumping and property development. I believe devolution is going to ease the population upsurge in Nairobi. The county governments are creating jobs upcountry and therefore the workforce would be retained. Resources are also being decentralized. This is generally good news for Nairobi although the fruits would only be realized in the long haul.
Floods in Nairobi are a mess. Any time it rains in Nairobi a lot of institutions in town and its satellite cities are affected. For some especially those in transport sector this is an opportunity, while for pedestrians, this is a drop of hell. Disaster planning, especially on rapid disasters like floods are not on form and the authorities are not taking control at all. So the situation is pathetic.
What do you think are the major causes of floods in the CBD?
Floods are majorly caused by the heavy rains but are made worse by the poor drainage systems. Urban planning in the city dint includes proper drainage systems that could easily allow flood waters to be carried off to the drains. Again pollution by poor waste disposal models is another issue causing havoc. Nairobi residents have for a long time not been keen on waste disposal and management. Polythene bags and waste papers which cause a lot of blockage on the drainage systems are not disposed in the right ways.
What were your expectations when it occurred or before it came to that?
I knew this was coming because looking at our roads and sewer systems, you would realize they are not designed to let through large capacities of wastes through.
What would you recommend?
All the authorities responsible to do their work and engage professionals.
What role can you play in ensuring this does not repeat itself? The best I can do is to advice.
With the few remarks from the residents of Nairobi, it will only be proper if leaders responsible to see to it that drainage systems are working ensure that all weather roads are constructed and most of all keep solid waste in its rightful place.
Do you live in Nairobi? What is your take on the issue?