The housing nightmare that follows urban dwellers

The housing nightmare that follows urban dwellers

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Congested Pipeline area in Embakasi South, Nairobi County. PHOTO/COURTESY

Nairobi,KENYA: According to the Kenya National Housing Survey 2012/2013 a number of urban households have increased mainly due to rural urban migration and natural population growth.

‘My two children became very sick. We could not get adequate medical services, so my father- in-law advised that I take my children to Nairobi with the hope they could get proper treatment. Their father lived and worked in the Kenyan capital. This meant I would migrate from my rural home at Taita Taveta County,’ narrates Maghuwa Mterengo a mother of 7 who resides at Kibera slums.

Jamilla Mohammed, 35, a mother of 2 and also a resident of the sprawling Kibera slums came to Nairobi from Taita Taveta County so as to realize her dream and escape poverty.

‘I intended to be an entrepreneur and upgrade my living standards. My business however did not flourish. I got divorced as well. I do people’s laundry for a living. Living conditions in the slums are unbearable. The place is characterized by open sewers, mosquitoes bite at night and water shortage is a way of life. We pay for every visit we make to the toilet,’ she says.

Peter Arisi Deputy Director at the National Council of Population and Development NCPD states that urbanization is increasing at a rate that is overwhelming both the National and County governments.

He adds that majority of urban dwellers reside in shanties and are vulnerable to diseases and poor living conditions.

Findings to the 2012/2013 survey say that an increase in urban population leads to an increase in demand for housing in urban areas.

However, this demand cannot be accurately quantified because the housing sector has for a long time been deficient of comprehensive, continuous, detailed, accurate and timely data to verify and confirm actual annual production of houses both in the urban and rural areas.

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