Posts tagged ‘Slum Emergencies’

January 10, 2011

Setback to Achievement of Millennium Development Goals – MDGs in the slums

It is at 8.30 pm and I am on my way home after a hard days work – 5/1/2011. Suddenly my mobile rings and am forced to plead with the matatu driver and tout to lower the loud music. Unfortunately am alone while other passengers seem less concerned with my plea. After threatening to storm out of the matatu yields to my plea. On the other side of the phone is a community based human rights activist, Ruth Mumbi trying to explain to me that there is a fire out break and she need to communicate to fire brigade for assistance as her mother’s house plus a couple of others are all on fire. I cut her off the line and immediately I contact a retired supervisor at fire brigade Mr. Karanja,  for assistance. After two minutes am informed that they are already on the way. While all this is happening, am contemplating of alighting to head back to the community to find out more about the situation. Finally I decide to head back to the community – Kiamaiko near Huruma, Nairobi. It is total confusion at the scene of fire as the effort to put out off the fire is uncoordinated. The roads and paths are narrow while the side effects poor water distribution network can now be visibly seen by the community. Local youths are leading in the effort to put off the fire. In this confusion am struck by a single woman of three adolescents a girl who is wailing uncontrollably. I look at her, am really struck by her tears. The fire brigade people were called one hour ago, what is happening? Only God knows. The siren can be heard from a far but where are they? After another half hour they finally arrive. By the time they arrive, 50 families are left homeless. Aftermath of the fire; most of the people are running around are either women or young children. Immediate my mind race back to TheUnited Nations Summit of the Millenium Development Goals and the real experience at hand;

1. The affected are single women living in the slum and most are operating small scale businesses

2. The crying woman had taken a loan from a community based savings aand credit group to start a small business a week ago to be enaable her feed and educate her children from the daily income

3. While there is free primary education, the following morning, 45 children are left homeless and unable to attend school since their school uniform and text books are all gone

4. Few residents are on ART and probably some have lost their medicine in the fire. A few people might contact malaria since nearby, there is a river and old unused quarry infested with mosquitoes

5. In this case, 10 women have children who are less than 5 years old. They all slept out on the cold faced with the possibility of mosquitoes’ bites

6. There is possibility that a few people mostly women might miss clinics visit for their children, others have lost contraceptives and clinic cards for their children.

7. A section of the community had established partnership with Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI) assistance in the improvement of water and sewage infrastructure while the community saves money on a daily basis for the upgrading of the houses.

8. All kinds of material were burnt and mostly mattresses and plastics hence polluting the ai.

Any time an emergency happens and there is delay in addressing it, affects  implementation of plans such as Vision 2030 and MDGs.  Can you match the above experiences with The United Nations Summit of the Millennium Development Goals?

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