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Sakaja: We shall use force to demolish houses built on river banks

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has said that the county will use force if necessary to bring down all buildings built on river banks and other wet areas in Nairobi, a move that could see some developers lose millions of shillings in investments.

The City county boss issued the directive following a meeting with a multi-agency team held on Wednesday to assess the flooding situation.

It was agreed at the meeting that the national and county governments would work together to map the affected areas and address some of the key issues leading to the flooding.

‘I have asked the national government to have the police help us where the structures need to be cleared. No matter who they belong to. I think those who are in the informal settlements have been more cooperative. But those higher up in areas like Lovington and have money, we will just have to use force, unfortunately, because it is about saving lives. And so we’re going to do that,” said Mr Sakaja.

He said that the city drainage system over the years, has been constrained, but what they are dealing with currently, is the bursting of the river banks.

He blamed it on the encroachment of riparian land and that is why they’ve halted all processes of development approvals for now. “Until we can review all of those that have been issued and where they are because we shall not allow any development upstream to affect lives downstream.”

Other measures that the county government is taking include, ensuring that all waste collected by Private Service Providers (PSPs) is taken to Dandora dumpsite. Any PSP found doing the opposite will face sanctions.

The county has also suspended all excavations along riparian areas with immediate effect. All inhabitants along riverbeds and high areas must relocate with immediate effect.

At the same time, the governor said that more than 60,000 people mostly women and children in Nairobi have been severely affected following the devastating flash floods which hit the city.

“Unfortunately we have lost four lives that have been officially reported and the search is on to locate six others who have been reported missing,” he said.

“Please heed all warnings and advisories issued by the relevant authorities and avoid unnecessary travel in flood-prone areas. In case of an emergency, you may reach the County via the hotline number 1508,” he added

He said all County Government Emergency services are on high alert and standby at the scene to provide the necessary support.

On his part Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang who had accompanied the governor among other leaders visited some of the victims affected by floods in Mathare.

MP Kajwang called on the government officials including Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to come out of boardrooms and go to the ground where the hustlers are being swept by floods.

“They should put aside those good papers and come and be with us first of all. We want to see their faces. We want to see how much the deputy President empathizes with us. Just the fact that he ignores that we are in a problem. We are not asking for much,” Kajwang said.

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