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Flooding nightmare for city residents

Urban floods have taken away the glory Nairobi residents once used to enjoy as the drainage system no longer has the capacity to handle the heavy rainfall that has been pounding the city.

The weatherman has predicted that the rains would continue this month and with the floods that Nairobians have been witnessing in the last three weeks, some are cursing the down pour as they wonder if the drainage problem is not sorted.

The flooding has become a nightmare to most city residents who are concerned whether there are plans to upgrade the drainage system soon. Even the sewerage system becomes messy every time it rains.

In the informal settlement areas such as Kibera, Mathare and Kawangware slums, the raw sewerage is swept by the running waters and it is deposited in other places.

This is what happened in Imara Daima estate last month when residents noticed human waste in their flooded houses.

Save for a team from the National Youth Service (NYS), who has been busy unclogging water passage areas and other waterways, Nairobi County government does not seem to have an immediate solution to the problem.


Recently the devolved engage the services of NYS to unblock the water channels besides clearing overgrown vegetation along the roads.

According to the governor, Dr Evans Kidero the county government is trying to get money from donors to repair the drainage, which was one of the issues he says he raised during a visit to Qatar last month.

However, Dr Kidero, who was attending a forum on issues regarding development of free trade in Doha, Qatar had to cut short his trip after Mutu-ini-Ngong River burst its banks causing massive flooding downstream.

The flooding of rivers is turning to be another looming environmental disaster, which is a problem that Nairobians have no choice but to prepare themselves to cope with it as long as torrential rains continue.

As Nairobi County executive committee member in charge of Land, Housing and Physical Planning Tom Odongo said, City Hall cannot along control the number of high rise buildings coming up in water catchment areas of Ngong in Kajiado County and in Kiambu.

“This is one of the causes of our problems as the runaway water in Ngong where forests have been cleared flows into the City,” Odongo says.


He cites Mutui-ini-Ngong River whose source is Kikuyu and Limuru Hills. The hills are Kiambu County and the river cuts through Ngong Forest in Kajiado County.

It river passes through Kibera slum. And with its large human population, the slum has no sewage and solid waste disposal system.

“The river collects plastics and other solid wastes that ends up blocking some waterways causing flooding,” Mr Odongo explains.

Last month the river burst its banks causing massive flooding in downstream areas of Nyayo High Rise Estate in Mbagathi, NHC Nairobi West Estate and South C Shopping Centre.

The flood waters went destroyed the wall of a mosque in Fuata Nyayo Estate in South B that collapsed and killed 11 people.

According to Mr Odongo, Nairobi Dam, which is the channel of the river, is also compromised and needs to be upgraded.

However, City Hall has also been accused of allowing constructions to take place on wetlands, river banks and river riparian areas.