By Claire Wanja
The Nairobi County Government has waived permit fees for building owners seeking to renovate their storm drain systems to enable emergency repairs and upgrades as a way of coping with ongoing heavy rains.
Some home owners and even commercial buildings such as the Yaya Center have been hard hit by recent flash floods, which have soaked basements and residential houses.
Building owners are ordinarily supposed to seek City Hall’s approval and pay a license fee of Sh4,000 before undertaking any repairs to their drainage systems or frontages.
“Fees for minor domestic drainage clearing, improvement and maintenance works have been waived during this period,” said the Nairobi Governor Dr Evan Kidero in a statement.
“Where the scope of the works is large in magnitude and affect large areas, persons are encouraged to contact the County Government for technical advice and assistance,” he added.
Dr Kidero said the waiver will alleviate suffering for those whose premises are prone to flooding due to overstretched storm drainage systems.
He noted that minor repairs could keep away floods especially from residential houses in low-lying areas such as the southlands.
New or major repairs will however have to go through the normal process of drawing maps and seeking approvals to avoid building of shoddy systems that could cause problems in the future.
The governor noted that as a larger surface area of the city has been built, the seepage zone for flood water has reduced but this is not matched by increase in capacity of the drainage system.
The steady rain that has been pounding the City reached an all-time high of 80mm against average normal rainfall of 12mm.
The weatherman has predicted that the city and other parts of the country are likely to continue receiving more than average rainfall.
It is expected there will be more incidents of flooding on the roads, destruction of properties, public open spaces and flooding of rivers which result in traffic congestion, inconvenience to residents and sometimes injuries and fatalities.
“I am deeply saddened by the scenes, pictures and videos of the aftermath of recent heavy rains. My prayers and thoughts are with all those who have been affected in one way or the other,” added the governor.
Some of the city roads earmarked as being prone to flooding include the Langata Road (T-mall) area, Muhoho road/Popo Road Junction, Muhoho road at Ngong river crossing, Lusaka road and Baricho Road both at Anti-malaria drain crossing.
Others include Jogoo road near makadara law courts, James Gichuru Road at Olenguruone Junction and near Convent drive junction, Marcus Gurvey/Chania Avenue Junction, Kipevu/Ushirika Road junction, Langata South Road at Tangaza College and near Langata Road, Lower Kabete/Brookside drive junction, Jakaya Kikwete Road at outlet of main drainage from DOD and Lenana road next to DOD gate.
Emergency responders have been put on standby to rescue motorists stranded in these sections.