Nairobi County Government estimates that millions of shillings may have been saved after activating an El-Niño Preparedness and Response Marshall Plan early last month.
As heavy rains continue to pound various parts of the country, leading to infrastructural damage, economic disruption and loss of life, mitigation efforts undertaken by the Nairobi City County Government have come in handy in minimizing the effects of the rains in the City.
Last September, when he launched the County’s El Niño Marshall plan, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja said the NCCG had set aside Kshs 300 million to mitigate the effects of the expected elevated short rains.
As part of the plan, the County, he said, had deployed more than 2,500personnel (mainly youth and women) known as the Green Army, providing environmental management services across the County, including storm drain clearing, garbage collection and related community services.
He added that enlisting the Green Army Youth, consisting of women and youth from all sub-counties, is part of his County Government’s commitment to supporting the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BeTA).
Ahead of the Green Army recruitment and deployment in October 2023, the County Government, he said, had successfully mapped out more than 80 potential hotspots in 17 sub-counties that had received specific attention to upscale mitigation challenges associated with flash floods.
“The County has also undertaken community sensitization, sanitation, and public health improvement works in the informal settlement areas to guard against disease outbreaks. Looking back, we estimate that our El-Niño Rapid Response Marshall Plan has potentially saved the County Government and the National Government more than Kshs 2 billion. These funds would have been spent for emergency works and relief interventions had the El Niño Rapid Response Marshall Plan not been activated. By activating the Green Army, all the 80 potential hotspots had been appropriately treated to prevent flooding, displacement, and economic disruption,” Said Governor Sakaja,
As part of the El Niño Preparedness and Response Plan, the Green Army, he said, has moved more than 6,000 tons of garbage over the last three weeks. “In some areas, we unclogged water pathways and storm drainage systems that were full of garbage possibly accumulated over more than two decades,” Sakaja noted.
He added, “In a city of order, dignity, hope and opportunity like Nairobi, our people’s safety and well-being is paramount. We will spare no effort or resource to ensure that city residents’ livelihoods and economic infrastructure are not disrupted nor destroyed even as the rains pound. Failing to plan is planning to fail, and the Nairobi City County Government El Niño Rapid Response Marshall plan aims to mitigate any negative challenges.”
Bram Simiyu, Chair of the NCCG Multi-sectoral Rapid Response team, added, “This time around, it is clear that even as Nairobi also continues to receive heavy rainfall, we have not been caught flatfooted, as we had placed all our staff in the 17 sub-counties on high alert and assigned resources, including Road Construction equipment, Ambulances, Fire Fighting, Sewerage Vehicles and equipment, among others, to provide the necessary mitigation support.”
The County government has also undertaken more than 302 intervention works, including outfall drain cleaning and lining, unclogging of blocked drains, de-siltation and repair of drains, and improving drainage channels’ capacity to suitable discharge points.