Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Fire in Mukuru

A fire in a Nairobi squatter community claims 50 kiosks and homes, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation reports. The biggest tragedy: it took the city fire department two hours to arrive.


Anonymous said...

That is just so sad. How does this happen...

rn said...

I'm sure you can imagine all the reasons:

Fires happen because:

1. electric service in these communities is generally purchased illegally, so wires are not strong enough to handle the load.

2. Residents have to burn garbage because there's not sanitation pickup.

3. residents often cook with charcoal or kerosene. A small spill or misplaced ember and the wood framing of a house can start burning.

Fires spread rapidly because the community has no piped in water.

The fire department is late because:

1. there are no fire alarm boxes, so until someone calls the fire department, it may not know about a fire.

2. there are no roads, so fire trucks can't get into the squatter community, and there are no hydrants anyway.

But all of these are a subset of another issue: the government, the powers that be, the economic interests simply don't care about the squatter communities. So they continue to burn.