In an ambitious move to combat ongoing fire calamities, Nairobi City County government has committed to a plan of deploying $2.4 million for constructing new fire stations in the districts of Gikomba and Kangemi.
Additionally, a substantial $4.02 million will be directed towards enhancing the capacities of existing fire stations, as per the budget statement. This robust investment is aimed at tackling the recurrent fires that have repeatedly wreaked havoc on households and commercial establishments.
The Disaster Management and Coordination division, under Governor Johnson Sakaja’s stewardship, will receive a hefty $7.22 million. This fund, broken down, reveals $6.42 million allocated towards development, and a recurrent expenditure of $1.3 million for the fiscal year 2023/24, starting in July.
The budget details, encapsulated in the County Fiscal Strategy Paper for 2023/2024, were presented to the county assembly by the Budget Committee’s chairperson, Wilfred Odalo, who also serves as the Mabatini MCA.
A notable uptick from the prior fiscal year’s allocation of $2.75 million, the current allocation manifests the county’s strategic approach to disaster management.
“The committee maintains that the construction of the Kangemi fire station, along with other projects, will bolster our ability to mitigate fire disasters. We aim to ensure that existing fire stations are duly equipped to handle such crises,” the document stated.
Simultaneously, the county government is set to launch community emergency response centers across the five boroughs and various county wards for $0.125 million, in addition to upgrading an Emergency Operation Centre for $0.5 million.
Odalo confirmed the allocations are in alignment with Governor Sakaja’s manifesto, promising an orderly city.
“In our role as assembly members, we have recognized Sakaja’s good intentions for the Nairobi citizens. We acknowledge the rampant fire incidents and have thus assigned funds for fire stations and facilities in underprivileged areas such as Mathare,” stated Odalo.
To augment disaster response, the county has earmarked $1.8 million for procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) and $0.6 million for three Advanced Life Support Ambulances. City Hall has also allocated $0.05 million for amending and implementing the Disaster Management Act of 2015.
The persistent issue of fires, with Gikomba market being the hardest hit, has been a significant challenge for the county government. Governor Sakaja has vowed to establish fire stations, improve access roads, and ensure the land where the Gikomba market is located is legally protected against unscrupulous land grabs.