Residents blames fire for continuously robbing them
By WANJALA B DANSON
Fire destructions in Kibra have been amplified in the recent past with a good number of residents’ lives reduced to ashes in minutes with resent Gatwakira fire tragic which left 4 people dead on the spot. However, People have lose lives and property in Kibra which have happen not only once but several times, making it comprehensibly that residents in the area have not yet learn their lesson about fire destroying all hustlers in a tickle of an eye.
In this case, there are numerous questions that still remain unanswered. Why it is that, residents of Kibra are still experiencing loses in their businesses and property due to fire destructions at an alarming rate? Is someone sleeping on his job or laziness and carelessness among civil servants and residents contributing to this disaster? We decided to steal a glance at the matter together with Kiberans.
Foremost, we exchanged views with James Kamau, a resident of line Saba where more than two fire instances has occurred in less than two months ago. Two people were feared die and property worth hundreds of thousands Kenyan shillings was destroyed. He introduce the aspect of illegal connections of electricity by residents, with the aid of a group of individuals branded Kibera Power who are rumored to be responsible for illegal connection of electricity, but the group existence cannot be verified by us for now. He furthermore laments about the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) for probably not maintaining secured power lines in the areas. “The main cause of this problem is illegal connectivity of electricity due to the failure of KPLC in preventing it,” he asserted.
A person standing at Kamukunji grounds, will clearly see illegal wires connections of electricity busy running up, down and across houses of residents of Gatwikera village without any order, you can’t tell either where they are coming from or where they are heading to. As a result, it has alleged that residents have two to three power lines from different sources all connected to their houses.
“A person may connect several power lines from Olympic, Kisumu Ndogo or even DC to his single house. When one power goes off, he switches on the other one. He may forget to switch off the one he was using before. When the other power line comes back and meet with the one which was on, an explosion occurs and the house is in flames,” asserted Evelyn Nyokabi a resident of Makina, one of the villages constituting Kibera.
“It is common phenomenon to see a person trying to connect wires even when it is raining. They behave suggest they are unaware of the danger they put themselves in or they don’t care about their lives and property,” asserted Jane another resident from Line Saba
Besides, many residents usually overload their electrical sockets in their houses. They are reported to have only one socket in their house. This particular socket is used to do all activities involving the use of electricity. It involves watching TV, boiling water using heaters, ironing clothes with an electrical iron box, using electrical cookers to prepare meals and other activities related to electrical equipments. All these activities are performed at ago by one socket consuming a lot of power from it hence overloading it.
Kelvin Otieno, an electoral technician working at Yaya Center in Nairobi and inhabitant in Kibera at Makina said overloading sockets have a great danger, that is, it may cause an explosion at the point of the socket. “Overloading may also occur when many residents are tapping electricity from one transformer. This causes it to an explosion and may spread fire to houses it supplies power to. Transformer explosions are the core cause of disconnections of elect city in any place,” explained Otieno
Some resident usually use heaters to boil water. However some will left the water boiling and go outside their houses while other fall asleep while water in jack is still? They forget to switch off the switch connected to the heater they only to wake to find their house is in flames.
“If a people come to rescuer you when your house is on fire, you should expect anything,” commented Jane NJuki, a victim whose house and belongings were hurried down to ashes. “Most people will pretend to help you in carrying your belongings out of the burning house. However, the moment they are out of your house they continue walking until they are out of your sight, taking your property to their house instead of helping you. They steal in the name of trying to help you,” added Njuki.
Conversely, in some calamites illegal connection or electricity misbehaving is not to be blamed. Some are caused by kerosene stoves many residents use to cook their food on daily bases. According James Wafula stoves may be dangerous especial when somebody leave them burning and goes out of the house. “Some people leave their house while food is cooking on kerosene stoves and going to shops to purchase other commodities they need,” said James Karioki. “Some also leave kids to take care of the cooking meals on stove putting lives of their children at risk.”
It likely that many residents do not understand what to do when fire breaks out. They have little information regarding safety measures to be taken when there is fire. This gap in knowledge pave way for relevant authorizes to provide civil education to residents about methods of preventing fire break out and also little sift measures to take in case there is fire. Educating the residents about the dangers of illegal connections of electricity could have a great impact in lowering fire break outs in Kibera.
However some of residents shifted blame to leaders of the area whom in their own opinion are doing too little, too late to assist them when there is a fire break out. “These guys, when we elected them we hoped they were going to help us to solve problems affecting us, but are n where to be seen. Next time we are not going to vote anybody in. Tukae hivyo tuu!” James, a victim of Line Saba fire destruction alleged.
Though the response of the authorities to fire correlated calamites are usually takes the course of compensating those affected financially. This seem to be a curing method to fire disasters which have already happen, but they are providing preventive measures which has more significant to all residents of Kibera than compensating those individuals already affected. It is better to prevent than to cure!