Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja believes that the measures that his government put in place in preparation for El Nino rains saved the national government and Nairobi residents Ksh2 billion.
In a statement, Sakaja termed his plan, for which he set aside Ksh300 million, as a success which he said significantly lowered the effects of the heavy rainfall thus saving the State from spending the colossal amount of money.
He noted that the county deployed more than 2,500 personnel (mainly youth and women) known as the Green Army to provide environmental management services in Nairobi.
Sakaja explained that at the onset of the rains in October, his team successfully mapped out more than 80 potential hotspots in 17 sub-counties that received specific attention to upscale mitigation challenges associated with flash floods.
"The County has also undertaken community sensitization, sanitation, and public health improvement work 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 Ksh 2 billion," he explained.
"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.”
Part of the measures taken to prevent escalation of the disaster, he argued, was storm drain clearing, garbage collection and related community services.
He further noted that the team cleared 6,000 tonnes 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,” 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.”
Since the onset of the rains, over 130 people have lost their lives in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.