Nakuru open sewer lines pose health risk to slum residents

Wednesday March 14 2018

Kwa Rhonda estate in Nakuru

Children in Kwa Rhonda estate in Nakuru County play in a trench that carries raw sewage on March 5, 2018. More than 500 Families living in slums in Nakuru risk contracting of sanitation-related diseases as a result of incomplete and open sewer lines. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

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More than 500 Families living in slums in Nakuru risk contracting of sanitation-related diseases as a result of incomplete and open sewer lines.

Most of the homesteads in the low-end estates are surrounded by inefficient and leaking sewers discharging untreated effluent into the environment.

The situation has now been compounded by the current long rains season.

Most of slums areas mainly located on the lower sides of the town and are most likely to be hit by floods and possible disease outbreaks.

The affected areas include Kaptembwa, Pondamali, Kwa Rhonda and Kivumbini among others.

Residents are now worried over the broken sewer lines and possible disease outbreaks.


The areas are also always affected by floods every rainy season due to poor drainage system and road network, leaving residents in fear of being displaced.

The sight of raw sewerage has become common with sewer lines leaking as a result of heavy rains which experts say may last for the next one month.

Residents claim that despite the history of floods repeating itself every year, the government has not made any effort to find a permanent solution.

At Kwa-Rhonda estate for instance, next to the local dispensary is a wide trench that carries most of its waste from the uplands to the lower ends.

Makeshift wooden bridge

School children cross a makeshift wooden bridge erected over an open sewer line in Kwa Rhonda estate in Nakuru. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The trench has found its way into one of the residential estates forcing residents to use a makeshift wooden bridge.

It is the same bridge that school going children use.

The trench poses a risk to the lives of more than 200 slum dwellers and according the residents, it brings waste all the way from Nakuru Town.

The situation has subjected the residents to fear of displacement every time it rains.


Ms Nur Juma who has lived in the area for more than five years said many are the times she and her neighbours are called to rescue school children who fall into the trench while crossing.

“We live in fear of being swept away especially when we realise that it is about to rain,” she said.

Ms Truphena Mugasia, a resident, said the trench has been expanding over the past two years.

Ms Amina Yusuf who lives in a house next to the trench narrated how two years ago two children were swept away by storm water while they were crossing the foot bridge and died.

Kwa Rhonda, Nakuru

Students cross a makeshift wooden bridge in Kwa Rhonda estate in Nakuru as they go to school. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


According Ms Yusuf, the situation gets worse during the rainy season as the trench carries huge volumes of dirty water which floods the area.

“We are worried that the rainy season is here again and we will have to bear with the same challenge we have faced before,” said Mr Mong’are.

In Ponda-Mali estate we found Mr Peter Tuwei clearing a drainage system next to his house that was clogged with all forms of waste.

He said he had to take the precaution ahead of the rains as the area is prone to floods whenever there is a heavy downpour.

“I decided to take the initiative of clearing way for the water before it is too late. Many are the times I have to clear flood waters from my house,” said Mr Tuwei.


A spot-check by the Nation at Ponda Mali showed that most of the trenches were clogged with plastic waste making it difficult for water to pass.

There were traces of stagnant water from the light showers experienced over the weekend.

After the floods experienced in 2016, the county government made efforts to open up some trenches to drain away storm water.

In 2016, hundreds of people from the slums were left homeless as the floods filled most of the houses in the estates located on the lower side of Nakuru Town.

Efforts to reach the Nakuru County government executive member in charge of Land, Housing and Physical Planning Lucy Kariuki for a comment did not bear fruit.

The county official did not answer text messages and calls made to her phone.