Karua slams govt disaster response

March 3, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 3 – Narc-Kenya Chairperson Martha Karua is calling on the government to improve the mode of dealing with disaster preparedness.

Speaking at Fuata Nyayo village in Mukuru slum where two children died after an inferno razed more than 5,000 shacks on Monday this week, Ms Karua said that recent events had exposed a lack of importance on how government institutions respond to disasters.

"This is an opportunity to give the services that were not there and then you can have some order, because what is making the disasters more often is the chaos that reigns in the informal settlements," she said.

She called on the government to use the Kazi Kwa Vijana initiative to provide sanitary and other social amenities to the informal settlement.

Ms Karua said: "This youth who are complaining they have no jobs… with just a little money they will work on those roads to work on the drainage."

The Gichugu MP called on the Kenya Power &Lighting Company and Nairobi City Water &Sewerage Company to come up with a programme of supplying electricity and water services to the informal areas but at a subsidised rate.

The slum has been plagued by fires which are suspected to have started as a result of illegal electricity connections by the residents.

She said efforts to fight the fire were hampered by the congestion in the slums and called on the Provincial Administration to enforce an 18 feet way leave in slums which can be used by emergency vehicles.

"It is now up to the government, through the city council to ensure they immediately get roads because it\’s more expensive dealing with disaster than preventing it"

Authorities said the fire was exacerbated by strong winds which fanned it and it spread to Fuata Nyayo, Mukuru Chakati and Mukuru Mariguini slums.

Fire engines from the armed forces, and other private emergency response companies joined the overwhelmed Nairobi City Council fire brigade to try and put out the fire.

Kenya Red Cross officials have set up evacuation centres at the South B Mosque and Mariakani Primary School where at least 8,969 people, 40 percent being children, are in dire need of relief support.

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