Residents on high alert after El Nino Forecast
Five three-bedroom apartments at the National Housing Corporation’s Nairobi West property are yet to be occupied, three months after heavy rains wreaked havoc at the estate.
El Nino is forecast to coincide with the short rains season that starts later this month.
Fear has gripped some residents over the prospects of heavy rains, floods and massive destruction of property – if the weatherman’s prediction come to pass.
The floods earlier experienced in May at the height of the long rains season
were blamed on poor building plans in the areas surrounding the Ngong River. The drainage system was clogged.
Nairobi residents raised concern over construction along Lang’ata Road which they claimed had blocked the river that flows from Ngong and Kikuyu area, passing through Kibera, Nairobi Dam, Nairobi West, South C, South B, Industrial Area and onward through Eastlands up to Ruai.
The river crosses Mbagathi Road near Highrise estate, Langata Road near T-Mall, Nairobi West near Nairobi West Mall, Mombasa Road next to the ICC church and through to South B near the Mater Hospital.
The NHC estate, which has 182 three-bedroom units, sold for between Sh7.5 million to Sh8.5 million in 2009, was among the worst-hit during the May disaster.
The majority of the apartments were occupied between 2009 and 2013.
The five NHC units are part of nine houses which were vacated after floods wreaked havoc, destroying property worth millions of shillings in Nairobi following heavy rains on May 12.
A section of the residents have expressed fear as uncertainty continues to surround the Kenya Meteorological Department’s forecast that the El Nino conditions could be worse than the one in 1997 that left many dead and hundreds homeless.
Houses on the ground floor were submerged after the downpour caused a nearby river to burst its banks, causing floods.
The estate’s residents’ association secretary Emmanuel Naicca told the Star that NHC is yet to address drainage and flooding issue, despite persistent complaints by residents over poor workmanship.
“Owners fear that come El Nino, there will be a disaster. It was bad in May and now with the El Nino update, you can imagine what it will do. It is a disaster in waiting,” Naicca, who bought his house for Sh8.5 million in 2009, said.
He raised fears that fixing guard rails for basement houses, which the state-owned NHC is already undertaking, may not stop flooding.
“They promised to do a ramp at the gate to block water from coming into the estate,” Naicca said. “There are other things which were in the purchase agreements which they have started to address but they need to do more. We continue pursuing them.”
NHC promised to respond to inquiries by the Star, but had not done so by the time of going to press.
“Kindly allow us some time to put together something for you with regard to the issue raised,” said NHC’s spokesperson Jackline Karuri in an email.
The homeowners are reluctant to have the houses handed over to them officially by the state-run corporation, until the concerns of “poor” workmanship raised are addressed, Naicca said.
“Whenever there are rains there has always been a problem including the sewage system mixing with the drainage and coming up into houses,” he said.