Old municipal estates in Nakuru continue to be an eyesore even as the town gears up for a city status.
Lack of maintenance has left at least six of the estates looking dilapidated. Built in the 1950s by the colonial administration at a time the town’s population was low, Kivumbini, Ojuka, Kaloleni Phase One and Phase Two, Baharini and Shauri Yako, have enjoyed reliable water supplies, having been connected to the municipality’s main water lines.
Over the years, the estates have never suffered water shortages that have ravaged recently-built estates in the town.
They drain their treated sewer water into Lake Nakuru at Lake Nakuru National Park.
But overpopulation and lack of maintenance by the county government have led to the sorry state of houses in the estates.
Residents here find it difficult to move out because of affordable rental prices. A two-bedroom house in Shauri Yako, for instance, goes for Sh2,000 to Sh3,000 per month, while a one-bedroom one goes for Sh1,500 per month.
But overpopulation over the years in these areas has resulted in frequent sewer bursts, which take long to be repaired, exposing residents to diseases.
“We have been exposed to unnecessary infectious diseases as a result of the sewer bursts that normally occur on rainy days. This is a health hazard to our children,” said a resident who requested not to be named.
They also say the asbestos used to cover the roofs are a health risk to occupants, especially during dry and hot weather conditions.
“The heat from the asbestos-roofed houses is too much for us during hot and dry seasons. At some point, we have been forced to leave our windows open at night for fresh air,” said Millicent Otieno, a resident of Shauri Yako Estate.
“But insecurity in the area has forced us to persevere under hot weather conditions at night,” said Otieno. However, the asbestos roofs are gradually being replaced with iron sheets due to pressure from the Ministry of Health on the advice of World Health Organisation, whose recommendation indicated that asbestos-roofed houses were unfit for human occupation as it exposed occupants to cancerous diseases.
In Kivumbini estate, almost all asbestos roofs have been replaced with iron sheets.