, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – Joan Ochieng; just like thousands of residents of Nairobi resides in a rental house which until Friday last week was a safe haven for her 3 children.
Ochieng, a resident of the informal sectors of Huruma resided in a rental house which was adjacent to the one that collapsed, claiming 42 lives and left hundreds others injured.
She is happy that such a tragedy did not fall on her family but worries of the uncertainty of the future, as presented by fate.
The building she was residing in is among those earmarked for demolition.
“Where do we go now?” a teary Ochieng, though not expecting answers asked. “We have been asked to move out of our houses but the Government did not provide any support.”
A widow since 2013 spoke to Capital News on Friday, when the Government kicked off a demolition exercise targeting 5 hazardous building in the area.
“Where was the government when all these buildings were being built? And how did they expect us to know and yet we are not architects?” she asked, this time staring on her few items that were being rained on.
Her sentiments was shared by hundreds others who despite the imminent danger stayed put despite a 48-hour warning that the houses they were occupying would be brought down.
Those who spoke to Capital News say the Government would have given them time to recover their deposits from their landlords, for them to be able to move to safer buildings.
“They have our money which we are almost sure they will not refund,” Babra Auma complained.
“Let the Government demolish all of these unfit buildings for our safety but they should also think about our fate.”
They painted a picture of pain and desperation as they watched some of their belongings rained on and the shivering children out in the cold.
For Dinah Indutia, “my only worry is the security of our property as we look for safer houses. Some youths from Dandora have been stealing our stuff.”
To them, they want the Government to strike a balance; protect them from unsafe buildings and also ensure they safely move to better houses.
“How do we move on with life and yet we are hustlers?” Peter Opondo wondered.
A month long operation will be kicked off, in a bid to clean up the city of hazardous buildings.
Nairobi has 226 buildings declared unfit for human habitation.
“We can’t argue about this… They will be demolished,” the PS State Department of Public Works Paul Mwangi warned.
So far, 42 bodies have been retrieved, 140 survivors rescued while 70 people are still missing.
Huruma’s Designated Incident Commander Pius Masai says more people are expected to be rescued even with 80 percent of the rescue operation through.