NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – Nairobi, the ‘Green City in the sun’ was reduced to a dirty city submerged in floods after a downpour of slightly over two hours on Monday night, leaving in its wake death and destruction.
City residents were also caught up in traffic snarl-ups. They vented their anguish of being trapped on flooded roads for several hours before they arrived to their destinations.
“I got home at about 10pm yet I normally get home at 5pm,” a motorist complained. A matatu driver plying the Nairobi-Rongai route also told of his ordeal saying many sections of his route were submerged in floods.
“On Mbagathi way, there were no car moving,” a Matatu operator explained. By Tuesday afternoon, some roads were still flooded, including the Nyayo stadium roundabout section of Uhuru Highway.
The Nairobi County Executive Member for Roads and Transport Mohammed Abdullahi told Capital FM News that as short term measures, several teams had been deployed to open blocked drainages on the roads.
He admitted that Nairobi County was surviving on drainage systems installed in the 1960s.
“We need to appreciate we have a serious drainage problem which has to do with lack of capacity. Most of the drainage systems were done in the 1960s and there has never been investment in upgrading the drainage system. The intensity of the rain will make it not hold,” he explained.
He however pointed fingers also at the poor waste management practices within the city. According to him, Nairobi residents litter the city which in the end blocks some existing drainage systems.
Drivers of small cars drove over the pavement to trying to avoid getting submerged in the flood that looked like the collection point of all waters from the city.
The action by the county government did not however appease residents who wondered why their government had not repaired the archaic drainage system.
“When you look at that side (pointing at the flood on the roundabout) we are really suffering. Please let the county government think about how it will help us,” another Matatu operator pleaded.
“We are wondering what they are doing because Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero knows very well about the rains. This is something that should be happening in Nairobi at this age, this is something very primitive,” a private car driver decried.