THIKA, HOW PREPARED ARE YOU FOR THE EL-NINO RAINS?


It has been a while since the meteorological department started warning of the impeding El Nino rains expected this October that could last for a month. It is a fact that its impact is likely to be aggravated by the prolonged drought in many parts of the country. 

Flooding and mudslides are likely to occur in parts of the country. The effects of El Niño are not the flood waters but the after-effects. Soon after the floods pass, there will be waterborne diseases, contamination of water sources and other effects.

The extent of the damage caused by these torrential rains are usually gargantuan. These floods are likely to sweep away power lines, crops, livestock and roads. Poorly constructed houses too could come crumbling down during these heavy rains. The result of this could be several deaths being reported, people being displaced by the floods as well as businesses stalled.

This calls for great preparedness in the part of individual citizens, the county governments as well as the national government. The national government has already set aside Sh5 billion for exigencies and also put 70,000 National Youth Service members on standby; to be called upon to offer assistance during emergencies as they may arise. They have also up a crisis centre to coordinate emergency interventions.

County governments on their part have been called upon to chip in and enhance their disaster preparedness. Through their health departments, they are also expected to make arrangements to contain possible outbreaks of water-borne diseases, especially cholera. 

County governments must come up with an effective strategy to prevent deaths and property destruction like those reported in the last El Nino rains in 1997.

As the residents of Thika Town, the county government included, we must join hands and up our game in preparedness of this impending catastrophe. It is apparent that both parties here are taking this so lightly.

A survey of various parts of this sub-county clearly shows some disaster in waiting. It is apparent that majority of the the town's estates still have no drainage due to poor planning and those that have them are already blocked due to years of neglect .

Areas like Majengo, Biafra, Starehe and its neighbours, Pilot, Makongeni and parts of Landless and Ngoigwa Estates have drainage systems that need unblocking. 

Other areas like Kisii Estate, most parts of Kiganjo, Kiandutu, Magogoni and Ngoliba have no drainage systems nor proper sewer lines. Most roads in these areas are usually impassible during rainy seasons. In some of these areas, the residents are usually forced to seek refuge whenever it rains since their houses get submerged in rain water. 

Such would be the scenery, if not worse this El Niño. We expect numerous cases of cholera and typhoid come November due to the filth that will have been infiltrated into our taps; remember this areas deposit their raw sewer in septic tanks.

The CBD is not better either. A lot of work needs to be executed to free the drainage systems. We also have the road construction works that have dragged for quite a while, especially on Kenyatta Highway at Gatitu exit and Munene area, posing an even greater problem of drainage. 

There is also the other danger posed by buildings that had been haphazardly constructed without the county government and NEMA approval. These are just disaster in waiting. It is a high time people living in such buildings vacated them or forced to do so. It would also be very prudent of the County Government of Kiambu pull down such structures in a safer way to arrest any possible disasters.

The county government should also use all possible forums to keep the people updated on their plans, implementation and  alerts to avoid any unwarranted deaths. People living on disaster prone areas should also act accordingly before it is too late. 

They say, a stitch in time saves nine. Over to you Thika.
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