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Mombasa needs Sh5 billion to mitigate effects of flooding toll

Passengers and members of the public use a makeship bridge on one side of the Marere river bridge after it was washed away by floods water due to heavy rains on Monday night, May 11, 2017. The bridge connects Kinango and Kwale towns and passengers have to disembark and cross the damaged section on foot after paying a fee of Sh50 to a group of youths. [PHOTO BY GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD].

Mombasa requires Sh5 billion to contain the floods that have claimed nine lives since the onset of the rains.

According to County Secretary Francis Thoya, the funds are required to construct a drainage system across the county. The flooding has also displaced 78 families, which are camping at rescue centres around the county.

“We urgently need not less than Sh5 billion to fix the floods menace but we do not have the funds. We will have to turn to development partners such as the World Bank, which sponsored the Kenya Municipality Programme,” said Mr Thoya.

HANDLING FLOODS

The county administration has been criticised for its handling of the disaster.

The Jubilee Party’s Mombasa gubernatorial candidate Suleiman Shahbal accused the county government of not having an adequate plan to stop the flooding.

“How well prepared is the county to deal with disasters that are likely to happen if the heavy rain continues?” Shahbal asked.

Shahbal accused the county administration of failing to unclog blocked drains before the start of the rains, saying the flooding has threatened the port city’s tourism sector.

But Thoya defended the county government’s handling of the crisis and denied that it lacked the means to counter flooding.

He said the government had started clearing structures built on waterways and demolishing walls in the Mombasa west and Kisauni areas. He added that some houses would be pulled down to clear the way for storm water.

However, he admitted that the long-lasting lasting solution still lay in constructing a comprehensive drainage system in the entire county.

“We have an elaborate plan to put in place a drainage system anchored in the Mombasa County Vision 2035,” said Thoya.

The national government was also accused of contributing to the problem.

The county secretary accused the Lands Ministry of issuing title deeds for wetlands.

“We need to secure and protect wetlands in Kisauni, Nyali, Changamwe, Jomvu, and Likoni, where individuals have been issued with title deeds by the national government,” said Thoya.

He explained that although Mombasa has a drainage system, it is blocked in many places. 

“Our focus on the island has been unblocking the drainage system to curb flooding,” he said.

Separately, Anthony Njaramba, the county executive committee member for agriculture, livestock and fisheries, led a team in distributing relief food and blankets to flood victims.

Mr Njaramba said families have been displaced due to the heavy rains pounding the county that have not been experienced in recent times,.

He claimed that sand harvesting had worsened the flooding.