INVESTORS FLEE

Frequent fires hurt investment in Homa Bay

Residents want the Municipality Board to purchase fire engines

In Summary

• Residents raise concerns over frequent fires which destroy property worth millions of shillings in major towns in the county.

• The municipality leadership will promote development projects in the county.

Homa Bay Municipality Board member Geoffrey Okomo, CEO Zilpa Opapo and member Peter Otieno address the press after a public participation event at the Homa Bay county assembly on October 8, 2019
Homa Bay Municipality Board member Geoffrey Okomo, CEO Zilpa Opapo and member Peter Otieno address the press after a public participation event at the Homa Bay county assembly on October 8, 2019
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO
Homa Bay Municipality Board member Geoffrey Okomo, CEO Zilpa Opapo and member Peter Otieno address the press after a public participation event at the Homa Bay county assembly on October 8, 2019
Homa Bay Municipality Board member Geoffrey Okomo, CEO Zilpa Opapo and member Peter Otieno address the press after a public participation event at the Homa Bay county assembly on October 8, 2019
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO

BY ROBERT OMOLLO

@robertomollo3

Homa Bay Municipality Board has been urged to purchase fire engines to curb frequent destruction of property by fires.

Residents yesterday raised concerns over loss of multimillion property during fire outbreaks in towns and trading centres such as Homa Bay, Kendu Bay, Mbita, Ndhiwa and Oyugis. The county lacks proper disaster management systems and a lack of fire engines has worsened the situation, they said.

 The residents spoke at the county assembly during a public participation forum presided over by assembly Lands committee chairman David Oloo. Board CEO Zilpa Opapo was present. The board sought public views on the Homa Bay Municipal Integrated Plan. 

Fire outbreaks have been prevalent in Homa Bay town in the recent past. The latest incident occurred on Sofia estate last Saturday.  Two children from the same family were burnt to death. County Bunge La Wenye Nchi speaker Walter Opiyo urged leaders to join hands and solve the problem.

“Many families and traders lose property worth millions of shillings in fires. There should be proper mitigation measures,” he said.

Resident Synod Okello said poor response to disaster management during fire incidents has been killing the spirit of investors and prompting some to move elsewhere.

“Many investors don’t come to Homa Bay because they are unhappy after losing all their property to fires. We want the board to purchase firefighting engines to cushion investors from massive losses,” he said.

The residents also want the board to fix the frequent problems of water shortage and power outages. They also demanded that the dumpsite in Homa Bay town be cleared.

MCA Oloo sought to assure residents that the assembly will ensure the views are included in the plan.

“We’ve incorporated firefighting engines into the plan to cushion residents during a fire outbreak,” he said.

Opapo said the municipality leadership will promote a number of development projects in the towns.

“The term municipality seems new to many people in this era of devolution. We will undertake many development projects, including road construction and clean water provision, among others roles,” she said.

The board chair appealed to residents to cooperate to ensure success in the management of the municipality. “Our services are aimed at improving the lives of the locals,” she added.

(Edited by F'Orieny)