For the last couple of weeks we have been torrential rains in fits and starts, leading to major floods in many parts of Nairobi. As is always the case, low income residential areas such as Kariobangi, Mathare, and Kibera have been hit. Because these neighbourhoods are characterized by overcrowding, marginalization, harmful environmental exposure, poverty, social disadvantage, insecurity, and lack of access to amenities. People living there are more vulnerable to natural hazards such floods which impact severely on their health and wellbeing.
As we write we just had two hours of heavy downpour and the whole areas and roads around the school are completely flooded.
The entrance to the school is partial flooded.
If it rains some more during the night we may not be able to access the building tomorrow. This is especially bad because we resumed school today from a 3 weeks break and everybody is geared up for the new term.
The flooding today rekindles memories from two weeks ago when the flooding in the ground flour of our building was severe (for days the water level was knee high). That we we were able to resume school today is a result of joining hands with the coffee firm that operates on the ground floor and two other businesses in adjacent buildings to unclog blocked drainage system and dig additional storm water drainage channels.
With the rains predicted to continue well into June, we are braced for tough times ahead.
The shoes that we gave to the kids last term have been very useful. The flood waters mix with raw sewage and it helps to keep their feet of the mud and stagnant waters that remain for days after the rains.
This afternoon we held a staff meeting in which we discussed, among other things, measures we need to put in place to mitigate the effects of the floods. We couldn’t come with a workable solution – which is frustrating. All we can do is hope for the best.
By Tony & Sami