NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 1 – The Nairobi County Government says that it is ready and prepared for the impending El Nino floods which are expected between October and December this year.
Speaking at City Hall, Governor Evans Kidero indicated that plans are already under way to clear drainage pipes to allow free flow of water.
He further pointed out that buildings which block the flow of water have also been demolished and that the exercise will continue until the city is safe in every aspect.
“What we have done is that we are clearing blockages, we are clearing riparian encroachments and we will make sure that there is free flow of water and again if you check there are buildings in Kahawa which we brought down since they were interrupting water flow and we will continue with the exercise to ensure there is no flooding,” he assured.
Kidero also emphasised the need for the public to act responsibly especially in the disposal of waste and garbage to ensure no blockages recur.
“What causes blockages in drainages is people throwing garbage and solid waste including plastic paper bags with no due care. Everybody must be responsible for their garbage and waste. It needs to be disposed of responsibly so that it does not cause blockage of our drainage system,” he stated.
In May this year at least 10 people died in flood related incidents following heavy downpour.
Hundreds of commuters were also stuck in traffic all night after entire neighbourhoods were submerged in water leading to millions of shillings in losses.
Residents from a number of estates in the southern section of the city had sleepless nights during the period after flood waters and effluent flowed into their homes during a night of extremely heavy rain.
According to experts, all water drainage systems in the city direct water out of the capital through two main channels, the Nairobi and Motoine Rivers.
Nairobi River runs from Kileleshwa to Westlands and crosses the city centre at the Globe Cinema interchange before leaving the city to join Athi River after traversing the vast Eastlands area.
Motoine River originates from Ngong Forest, runs through Kibera slum into Nairobi Dam, which is supposed to act as a temporary reservoir before heading to Nairobi West and into Industrial Area and leaving the city through Kayole to join Athi River.
However, both rivers have been seriously encroached upon despite an existing law prohibiting erecting of developments 30 metres to a natural water body.
In the case of Nairobi River, for instance, the section between St Mary’s School and Church Road in Kileleshwa is heavily encroached on with some buildings built right on top of the river in some places.
Other developers have constructed dykes to divert the river’s natural course in order to shore up their buildings.
The Nairobi Dam was commissioned in 1957 to temporarily hold water from Ngong Forest and prevent flooding in the low-lying South C, Nairobi West and Madaraka areas.