Kiambu: Water sp**led from Kar*menu II dam gets to vi*lages, causes toilets to cave in

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 18 Jan, 2024 15:26 | 4 mins read
A toilet that caved in. PHOTO/Mathew Ndung'u

As most parts of the country continue to experience heavy rainfall, a section of families from Iruri, Kanyoni, Gituamba and Kiroko villages in Gatundu North constituencies are living in fear of landslides as their farms have been submerged by water spilled from the Karimenu II dam.

The overflow water has also reached homesteads in the villages.

Already, several latrines have sunk inside the dam’s water, sending signals of an imminent tragedy that could further see the collapse of residents’ houses that are now a few meters from the dam.

A tour of journalists in the village revealed that residents' food crops including bananas, maize among others have been submerged by the dam’s water, a situation that has left most families struggling to put food on their table.

At the home of James Kariuki, family members here are forced to relieve themselves within the neighbourhood after his latrine caved in.

A toilet that caved in. PHOTO/Mathew Ndung'u

Kariuki's residential house is barely five meters from where the latrine is, a situation that has left him worried about his fate as the house could also collapse should the rains continue falling till March as predicted by the weatherman.

Residents from the affected villages claimed that the multi-billion dam that was commissioned in 2022 has been the cause of their misery.

“This is a ticking bomb and it is only a matter of time before a tragedy happens here. We are living in this danger as we have nowhere else to go. Our houses have developed cracks after they were weakened by the dam’s water but still, we continue to live here as this is the only home we know,” Kariuki said.

At the centre of locals’ fury is delayed compensation for their land and damages therein by the government despite having surrendered them to facilitate the construction of the dam.

Residents led by Anne Nduta raised concerns that most families are currently staring at hunger since the water gobbled up their farms and destroyed all crops.

They regretted that the dam which they thought would address some of their problems like lack of water in their homes has been nothing but a cause of their predicaments saying the only thing they get from the dam is mosquitoes and severe colds.

“This dam has been the cause of our problems. Since its commissioning, we have experienced all manner of challenges including cold that has graduated into pneumonia and other cold-related diseases, malaria as a result of increased mosquitoes and psychological torture,” Nduta said.

“Right now, we are concerned about the safety of our children whom we fear might perish in the dam. We have raised our concerns with all relevant authorities and their local leaders led by Governor Kimani Wamatangi and MP Njoroge Kururia but no interventions have been made to salvage them,” Ann Wambui, another resident, decried.

A granny points at the Karimenu II dam in Gatundu North Constituency, Kiambu County. PHOTO/Mathew Ndung'u

The locals accused the government of dragging its feet in compensating and relocating them noting that the valuation of their properties has been done countless times but the compensation process has never been concluded.

They claimed that the dam, which they thought would be of help, has been the cause of their sleepless nights and the reason their lives were at peril.

They pleaded with the government to fast-track their compensation and relocation before tragedy strikes.

Paul Mwangi, the secretary of the project's affected persons committee, told the government to compensate the locals swiftly and with the current land prices to enable them to move to safer areas.

“Let the government not wait until a tragedy strikes, let it act now – pay all the affected persons their full amounts to facilitate their relocation. Our people here are going through untold suffering including colds and pneumonia which have become the order of the day. They cannot farm due to the increasing waters and now, their toilets have started sinking inside the dam. What else is the government waiting for to fast-track relocation of the affected persons?” Mwangi noted.

Late last year, the government through the Water Cabinet Secretary Zacharia Njeru announced that it had set aside Ksh150 million to compensate and relocate some 122 residents whose properties including land and homes were on the verge of being submerged by the already full dam.

Njeru who spoke after touring the dam told journalists that the valuation of the resident's properties was being fast-tracked in a bid to speed up the process.

"The process of compensating and relocating the affected is underway. We are working together with them so that we can move them to safer areas before the compensation is done," the CS said.

About two months later, no affected person has received a dime or information on when they will be compensated to facilitate their relocation.

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