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Governor Wamatangi urges Ruto to declare floods a national disaster

Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi has appealed to President William Ruto to declare the ongoing floods a national disaster.

Governor Wamatangi’s request comes a few days after Azimio la Umoja leader, who is also the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, Mr Raila Odinga, made a similar plea.

So far, the country has lost 228 lives to the ongoing floods, which have devastated more than 33 counties while thousands have been displaced and left homeless.

Governor Wamatangi made the plea to President Ruto to declare the ongoing floods a national disaster on Sunday, May 5, 2024, while addressing a church service in Kiambu.

The service at St Mark’s New Kamiti Parish was attended by Deputy President (DP) Rigathi Gachagua, who was accompanied by a delegation of lawmakers, including National Assembly Speaker Kimani Ichungwah (Kikuyu), among others.

“When you (referring to DP Gachagua) meet the President today (Sunday), please convey our appreciation for what he did the other day and ask him to declare the floods a national disaster,” Mr Wamatangi urged.

Recently, Dr Ruto convened a Cabinet meeting to strategise on how to deal with the devastating effects of the floods.

The Kiambu governor said that 27 bridges in his county were washed away by the floods. He called on the National Government to expedite the release of emergency funds to counties to mitigate the effects of the floods.

“We need some of the emergency funds to be released so that we can support our administrators to reach the remotest villages,” the governor said.

Data from the Controller of Budget shows that counties were collectively allocated Sh1.9 billion to their emergency funds in the 2023/2024 financial year.

Of this amount, the counties spent Sh963 million as of December last year (2023), leaving Sh973 million unspent. Mr Wamatangi, who chairs the Council of Governors’ Roads Committee, also wants the Roads Maintenance Levy Fund (RMLF) reinstated for county governments to help with road rehabilitation.

“The Roads Maintenance Levy Fund should be reinstated for us so that we can rehabilitate our roads,” said Wamatangi.

Although the devolved system of government had not yet been introduced, the RMLF was established by an Act of Parliament in 1993.