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Shame of buildings on top of city river

Disaster looms in parts of Nairobi following the obstruction of the flow of Mutuini-Ngong River by human settlements.

The river burst its banks with the excess water submerging structures erected along the water path at Mbagathi and Nairobi West last week when heavy rains, the weather man described as unusual, pounded the city.

At least 11 people died at the Fuata Nyayo slums in Industrial Area after a mosque’s wall collapsed in the raging floods.

Property worth millions of shillings was destroyed by the flood waters that found their way into both residential and commercial buildings.

“If we had similar rains today we would be in similar problems, as nothing appears to have been done to avert flooding,”said Mr Peter Kuria, who operates a flower bed at the junction of Lang’ata Road and Mbagathi Way.

His flower bed is next to a section of the river that has been blocked by the perimeter wall of a building under construction on the river’s path.

Mutuini-Ngong River flows through a building under construction at Langata-Mbagathi roads roundabout. PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI
Mutuini-Ngong River flows through a building under construction at Langata-Mbagathi roads roundabout. PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI

The construction opposite T-Mall is being blamed for the massive flooding of Lang’ata Road and the neighbourhood.

It is not clear how the owner was allowed to build on the river valley since the structure has literally hindered the water from flowing freely.

Apart from the perimeter wall, the contractor has also narrowed the water passage by creating it under the building. Part of the perimeter wall was destroyed by the raging floods.

And while trying to get an outlet, the overflows that clogged up Lang’ata Road found their way into the NHC Nairobi West Estate.

“When the waters were dropping back into the river, my flower bed was destroyed. I lost business worth Sh300,000,” said Mr Kuria.

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero visited the site after the disaster and stopped the construction of the building. The building, which workers say is a hotel, is owned by an MP who has been in Parliament since the 1990s.

ANOTHER TRAGEDY

“The construction started after the 2013 elections,” Mr Kuria told the Daily Nation, recalling that earlier attempts had been opposed by Nema.

Nairobi County executive in charge of Transport and Infrastructure, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, said:

“We have dispatched a team from the planning department to see what can be done to avert another tragedy.”

At South C, where a Makini School bus was stuck last week, residents accused a landlord of erecting a perimeter wall obstructing the river.

Residents of Nyayo High Rise Estate at Mbagathi, which is built on a river valley are also living in fear.

Last week, they were counting losses when the river broke walls built to prevent water from flowing into the estate.

This story first appeared in the Daily Nation