alexa Over 450 families homeless as demolitions begin in city - Daily Nation

Over 450 families homeless as demolitions begin in city

Wednesday May 18 2016

Residents watch as an earth mover brings down a

Residents watch as an earth mover brings down a building in Mathare Area 1 on May 17, 2016. More than 450 households in Nairobi have been left homeless after the county government brought down three buildings. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

LILLIAN MUTAVI
By LILLIAN MUTAVI
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More than 450 households in Nairobi have been left homeless after the county government brought down three buildings.

Demolitions of unsafe buildings in Mathare Area 1 began Tuesday following the April 29 collapse of a building in Huruma Estate, where 51 people were killed.

Speaking in his office on Tuesday, Planning and Land Executive Christopher Khaemba said more than 200 residential buildings would be demolished in the next six months.

He said the work, which the county government is carrying out in collaboration with the national government, will cost Sh1 million daily in terms of fuel for the excavators.

“City Hall does not have the machinery to carry out a mass demolition,” said Mr Khaemba.

“We have therefore engaged the Ministry of Public Works, the National Youth Service and the military to provide the machines needed,” he added.

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Initially, the county government had earmarked for demolition six unsafe buildings in Huruma, and tenants were supposed to move out of them within seven days.

The deadline lapsed Tuesday.

Mr Khaemba said the county had checked the buildings and found tenants had vacated only two structures, which he said would be demolished Wednesday.

SH10,000 AN HOUR

The county has engaged a private contractor at a cost of Sh10,000 an hour to bring down the buildings in Huruma that are close to the collapsed one, Mr Khaemba said.

Speaking at the site, Pius Masai, the deputy director of the National Disaster Management Unit, said the demolition would be determined by the available machinery.

He added that it would be carried out in a systematic manner so as to ensure safety for residents.

“This is an inter-agency operation and the demolition will be done in phases,” said Mr Masai.

The owners of the condemned buildings had salvaged some of the building materials before the demolitions began, Mr Masai said, adding that people had vacated voluntarily.

A Mathare resident, Nicholas Akala, welcomed the demolitions, saying the government was to blame for the corruption in the planning department.

He said one demolished building was built on a sewer line and on a road reserve, posing danger to those living in it and those using the road.

However, the building, which was more than 20 years old, was vacated six months ago.

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