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'Mwaki' singer Sofiya Nzau calls out gov't over Mathare shelter crisis

Sofiya Nzau has launched a campaign to assist displaced people in Mathare with temporary shelter after vising the area.

'Mwaki' singer Sofiya Nzau
  • Singer Sofiya Nzau advocates for flood-displaced people in Nairobi's Mathare area
  • Nzau notes that the government has done little to assist in resettling the affected residents
  • President Ruto announced prioritisation of the National Housing Fund for building homes for displaced individuals in his Labour Day speech

'Mwaki' singer Sofiya Nzau has added her voice to advocacy efforts as the city reckons with mass displacement of people following heavy flooding in Nairobi this month.

Speaking of the situation in Mathare, Nzau noted that the government has done little to assist in resettling residents who were forced to evacuate at the beginning of May.

Following an on-site visit recently, the 'Mwanake' singer expressed that the situation is more dire than she expected.

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"We found out that the situation in Mathare is really bad. So many families have lost their homes and each other, some have lost their loved ones to the floods... and some of them it's the separation of husband and wife - the wife is living in a church and the husband is living in a mosque.

"What we want to bring awareness to is that the people of Mathare need shelter and the government is not helping. The affordable houses are available but they're [the government] not helping the people of Mathare with them," she stated in a video posted on Wednesday.

In collaboration with a local CBO, the Mathare Social Justice Centre, Nzau is raising funds to construct a temporary shelter that will ease congestion in the few available areas where displaced persons are living.

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"If we can be able to build something for them to sleep in as they are figuring out their lives, because most of them lost their jobs," she appealed.

During his Labour Day speech on May 1, 2024, President Ruto announced that the National Housing Fund would be prioritised to build homes for those displaced from riparian lands and low-cost housing projects in the April/May flooding crisis.

In his national address on May 3, 2024, he further ordered the Ministry of Interior to ensure the evacuation was effected and those displaced were also relocated.

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The evacuation order affecting people living in unplanned settlements and riparian reserves was to take effect by 6:30 p.m. of the same day.

In a May 4, 2024 notice, CS Kithure Kindiki confirmed that the government had set up 138 camps in 18 counties to accommodate 62,061 individuals from 14,771 households.

By May 6, 2024, 181,000 people in 40,000 households living in Nairobi riparian reserves had been vacated permanently. CS Kindiki noted that by May 31, 2024 all 40,000 households will have received a one-off Sh10,000 eviction stipend for their relocation.

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