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September 23, 2018

Landslide victims to be resettled soon

Kiria-ini Kangema road / ALICE WAITHERA
Kiria-ini Kangema road / ALICE WAITHERA

The government has started consolidating landslide victims into groups to fund their resettlement in Murang’a county.

The ‘Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Assessment’ initiative being done in collaboration with the Kenya Red Cross Society will fund the groups to construct new houses.

The groups will also help map out disaster-prone areas from past calamities and come up with solutions.

Central region Red Cross coordinator Gitonga Mugambi said Murang’a is one of the counties worst affected by torrents that hit the country earlier in the year.

The rains left five people dead after their homes were swept away.Mugambi said his organisation has received funds to resettle 332 families.

During a meeting involving the Red cross, the county government and other stakeholders in June, it was decided that Sh30 million would be used to resettle the people displaced by landslides, cracks and floods in Murang’a.

The formation of the groups, Mugambi said, is being spearheaded by deputy county commissioners for transparency.

Officials from the department of geology were dispatched to establish the extent of damage caused by cracks and landslides.

BUILDING

Their report will be tabled before the County Disaster Management Committee to help map areas that are safe for building houses.

The displaced will be educated on safety and risks affecting their areas to help them respond appropriately to disasters.

Safe shelter guidelines indicate the groups will own the initiative by coming up with strategies to deal with spatialproblems, using local construction techniques.

Mugambi said the funds for the construction of the houses will be released in phases.

The organisation will also have technical officers to oversee the construction and ensure they are up to standard.

“These groups will also forge good rapport between the community,  administration and supporting organisations to help the victims recover,” he said.

EARTH MOVEMENTS

The displaced families, mostly from Kigumo, Mathioya and Kangema constituencies, have been integrated with other families, while others are still being accommodated in learning institutions.

The earth movements have also damaged Kiria-ini Kangema road, part of which has collapsed,forcing motorists to use only one lane.

A Sh250 million irrigation project is expected to harvest rain and floodwater from rivers in Murang’a.

It will be set up by American NGO Kids Can Do and is expected to benefit 100,000 farmers.

“Despite fertile soil, Murang’a suffers from food insecurity due to lack of irrigation water. This project could turn the county into a food basket,” the firm’s coordinator Karanja Mburu said.

He said talks are being held with the national and county governments to set up the project in the areas that suffer most flooding.

The project will be done in phases and is expected to solve the flooding problem during long rains.

Mburu said the project would use gravity to harvest flood water, channel it into a dam and distribute it to farms.

Providing irrigation water will reduce unemployment as many youths will venture in small scale commercial farming, he added.

Mburu commissioned a 300,000-litre water tank at Gaitheri Primary School on Monday. It was built by the NGO.

He said Kenyans should find ways of harvesting rain water for use during droughts.

The organisation has already constructed 20 tanks in primary schools to harvest rain. It plans to build 100 tanks.

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