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Government cites weak foundations as cause for collapsing houses

Weak  foundations have been blamed for the recent incidences in which eight houses collapsed in Machakos following heavy rains currently being experienced in the country.

At  least 10 residential houses have collapsed and two people killed in less than two weeks in Kathekakai location in Machakos Sub-county in what the government now says is primarily due to weak structural designs on residential buildings.

Eight of the buildings came tumbling down over the weekend after heavy rains pounded the county for several hours.

The Machakos Assistant County Commissioner (ACC), George Kubai, now blames the designers of the building who he said used poorly baked bricks while constructing the houses.

He further faulted lack of poor drainage for storm waters in the area which he said has aggravated the situation.

“One of the causes of the incidents that took place in Kathekakai location partly lays in the structure of the buildings and the poor drainage system. It has been ascertained that majority of the houses were constructed using bricks which were substandard and thus easily gave way due to too much water owing to the rains that hit the county over the past weeks,” he told the press this morning.

Last week a couple perished after the walls of the house they were living in caved in at Ketelembo area in Machakos Central Ward owing to a heavy downpour.

The bodies of the two were pulled out of their house after an overnight deluge.

According to Kubai, initial investigations show the house came down after the gutter caved in due to the intensity of the rains.

The  owner of the house is said to have been refurbishing the building and had added an extension wall which was still under construction.

Two of their children, however, survived the ordeal as they had spent the night in a relative’s home.

The administrator is advising area residents to take advantage of the ongoing rains to plant more trees on their farms as one way of mitigating against rain-related incidences in future such as flooding and landslides.

The  Machakos County Director of Emergency and Rescue Services, Dr. David Mwongela, has already advised people living in flood- prone areas to move to safer grounds following heavy rains pounding the county.

Dr. Mwongela has singled out Matungulu, Athi River and Mwala Sub- counties as some of the flood hotspots in the County where residents have been advised to be on the lookout, especially for those living near river courses.

On Friday last week the Meteorological Department issued a Heavy Rain Advisory in a dozen counties where rains of more than 30 mm are expected to be experienced until December 3rd.

Among areas expected to be affected by the heavy rains, include Kajiado, Nairobi, Bomet, Makueni ,Nyeri, Kericho, Migori, Nakuru and Machakos.

According to recent statistics from the Kenya Red Cross Society more than 160,000 people, including nearly 17,000 who are displaced countrywide, have been affected by floods or landslides since the onset of the short rains in October.

In addition, at least 120 people have reportedly died, including 43 people who lost their lives after a landslide buried their houses in West Pokot County on November 24.

By  Samuel Maina

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