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Counting the losses after Nairobi floods

Near the Nairobi West South C junction were several drainage trenches which were all completely blocked and flooded with stagnant water/MUTHONI NJUKI

Near the Nairobi West South C junction were several drainage trenches which were all completely blocked and flooded with stagnant water/MUTHONI NJUKI

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14 – Even as the County of Nairobi moved in to unclog blocked drainage systems in the city, most areas affected by floods that hit the country on Wednesday were still flooded.

When Capital FM News arrived in Nairobi West, residents were still busy draining water out of their houses and making every effort to salvage what they could.

Piles of clothes, shoes and among others bedding were piled up in huge paper bags some for washing others for disposal.

Kitchen utensils, carpets and other household stuff littered in dirty water were piled outside.

People were busy cleaning, sweeping and sorting out what could be salvaged after dirty water flooded their houses.

Businessmen who run shops along the same street were also counting huge losses of losing their property and machines and also loss of customers for the days they had closed their shops.

“The water came inside my house, it had no other space to go out. I have closed my shop, I can’t do any business.
What am I going to eat? My food is completely destroyed,” Shah a businessmen whose house was also flooded vented.
“We cannot even switch on any power, we have no water. We have been talking to these people (city authorities) they are not even looking at us,” he decried.

Shah’s house was empty, all the furniture which was soaked in water had been taken out. The bedrooms, the kitchen and the stores were all empty.

They were all paraded outside his compound as people helped him to sweep the house.

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A neighbour next door was equally in shock. She had lost everything including her stationery. She was just happy after one of the people draining water out of her compound handed some photos to her.

Shah’s story was similar to Samuel Kioko.

“The rains came and there was a flood in my shop. My compressor machine worth Sh60, 000 broke down and my other machines were swept away, I am just trying to be strong,” Samuel Kioko narrated.

Just outside the estate, there was an earth mover trying to dig up a drainage pipe.

The pipe was fully covered with soil and stacked with rubbish and mud.

From the look of it, the drainage pipe stopped working some years back.

Near the Nairobi West South C junction were several drainage trenches which were all completely blocked and flooded with stagnant water.

The trenches are supposed to drain water to a stream in Nairobi West.

A security guard in Nairobi West, Peter Nthuku recalled the night of Tuesday when strong floods filled the stream.
According to him, the intensity of the floods was too strong and also in high volume making it impossible for water to flow under the bridge.

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“What I realised is that the water was more and its force was stronger than the bridge. The bridge is small, and the amount of water flowing could not fit under the bridge, it spilled over the bridge, it was sweeping big tree branches and all types of waste which were blocking smaller trenches that it could have drained through,” Nthuku explained.
Plastic bags of all colours, blankets, plastics, tree branches and all manner of rubbish hang slackly on a wire fence along the stream.

He said the best solution to resolve flooding in the region is for the county government to construct a high bridge and open the drainage pipes but also make them bigger so that huge amounts of water can pass through.

He also said a wire mesh should be installed along the stream to sieve rubbish that blocks passage of water.

Shah explained that all the water supposed to go through the bridge hit a wall built on the stream in Nairobi West and then found its way back to their houses and other areas in South C.

The residents and businessmen in the area appealed to the government to speedily replaced the broken drainage pipes and also expand them.

City Council workers and National Youth Service were also busy unclogging drainage systems in Kilimani and South C.

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