Kamukunji MP wants Gikomba Market declared a disaster area due to frequent fires
Kamukunji Member of Parliament Yusuf Hassan now wants Gikomba Market declared a disaster area due to frequent fires.
The MP appealed to President William Ruto and Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja to come up with a permanent solution to address the perpetual fires.
His sentiments came after another unexplained fire destroyed sections of the popular market on Saturday morning.
“I’m appealing to President William Ruto and Governor Sakaja to declare Gikomba a disaster,” said Hassan in a tweet on Saturday.
“They should set up a special fire fund, and provide urgent assistance to the victims of the fire. They need help to rebuild and restock and get back on their feet again,” he said.
I’m appealing the President @WilliamsRuto and the Governor @SakajaJohnson to declare Gikomba a disaster area, to set up a special fire fund, and provide urgent assistance to the victims of the fire. They need help to rebuild and restock and get back on their feet again.
— Yusuf Hassan (@MPyusufhassan) October 15, 2022
The inferno razed the market’s Gashosho and dry fish market sections before spreading to parts of the Gorofani and Bondeni estates that border the market.
The fire was eventually stopped by firefighters but property worth millions of shillings was destroyed during the incident which left many traders counting their losses.
However, it still remains unclear whether any lives were claimed by the inferno as police are yet to issue an official statement of the incident.
According to the Kenya Redcross, the fire started near the dispensary in the Gashosho area at around 1 am.
Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for second-hand clothing and footwear as well as furniture, is said to be a source of livelihood to millions of persons directly and indirectly.
For decades, the Gikomba market has been a source of income for many including food vendors, second-hand clothes traders, carpenters, business people, and many more.
However, for many years, they have constantly been in tears and encountered losses as fire mocked their success by razing down the market.
From 2015, 2018, 2020 and 2021 Gikomba has had its annual fires.
Last year on November 28, 2021, as Nairobi was experiencing heavy rainfall, traders were once again crying in pain as commodities of unknown value were destroyed in another mysterious fire.
This was the second time that month and the fifth in 2021 that the traders were counting millions of shillings in losses after fire razed their commodities.
In February 2021, a mysterious fire visited the open-air market and another one in August.
On April 10, 2019, more than 2,000 structures were razed down as a section of the market was gutted by fire.
In 2018, the market experienced three fire cases. In June, 15 people died and at least 60 were injured when a section of the market dealing in timber and clothes was burnt.
The same year in October, another fire was experienced in the market.
In 2017, the Gikomba market caught fire twice on October 6 and September 10.
In 2015, fire also broke out twice in the market in the months of May and June.
Seeking to solve the solution, Nairobi County Government and the national government resolved to build a new five-storey Gikomba market at a cost of Sh3 billion to end all the fire incidences.
There have been allegations that land ownership tussles between tenants in county-owned houses, suspected land grabbers and traders have fuelled the perennial fires.
During his campaign in June, Nairobi Governor sensationally claimed some business, whom he did not name, have been behind the periodic fires witnessed at the Gikomba market.
A probe ordered by retired President Uhuru Kenyatta in October 2017 is yet to provide conclusive answers and there have been numerous fire outbreaks since then.
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