Heavy rain exposes how poor drainage runs deep in Nairobi

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Heavy rain exposes how poor drainage runs deep in Nairobi


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Heavy overnight downpour that pounded Nairobi yesterday has exposed the underbelly of the city that is poor drainage system. NMG PHOTO

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Summary

  • Heavy overnight downpour that pounded Nairobi Monday has exposed the underbelly of the city that is poor drainage system.
  • Pools of water, flooded roads and over-flowing storm water drainages characterised most parts of the capital as residents woke up to a heavy rain causing pools of water.

Heavy overnight downpour that pounded Nairobi Monday has exposed the underbelly of the city that is poor drainage system.

Pools of water, flooded roads and over-flowing storm water drainages characterised most parts of the capital as residents woke up to a heavy rain causing pools of water that mixed with mounds of garbage, turning the city into an eyesore.

Nairobi residents were forced to hop, skip and jump through the puddles of water while businesses were interrupted as most of them had their entrance blocked by the sudden “lakes” with flood-prone areas submerged in water.

“I cannot open my business as usual because of the flash floods as I have to wait for the pools of water. This is crazy,” said Mary Njeri, a shop owner in Nairobi’s city centre.

“Look at my shoes, they are dirty after having to wade through the pools. This means I have to spend at least Sh50 bob to clean them,” said James Omondi.

But this situation will not be a one-off with the Kenya Meteorological Department warning that the heavy rains in the city will continue throughout the week.

When it rains in Nairobi, the central business district to the outskirts of the city centre, flash floods and stagnant water have been a constant fixture.

The problem has been blamed on outdated designs and continuous dumping of solid waste in drainage systems.

Constructions on road reserves as well as trading activities including selling building materials like sand, stones, and ballast, some of which end up in the drains, have also been faulted for blocking the drainage systems.

“The county government has never taken any step to address drainage issue in Nairobi. We are used to the floods whenever it rains so it does not come as a surprise,” said another trader on Moi Avenue in Nairobi.

The menace has been perennial despite millions of shillings being spent by City Hall annually to address poor drainage systems in Nairobi.

When former Governor Mike Sonko assumed office, he accused his predecessor, Dr Evans Kidero, of squandering funds meant for rehabilitating drainage system in the county. But he fared no better with his administration also spending millions to address the problem with no tangible results.

In March 2018, City Hall together with the Directorate of Urban and Nairobi Metropolitan Development set aside Sh194 million to address the flooding menace in Nairobi. A total of Sh32 million was to be used to improve the drainage system in the county and put up measures to mitigate the effects of the heavy rains.

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