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Nairobi News : December 23rd 2013
news Many people were rescued from the rubble after a cargo train crashed into their shanties in Kibera, injuring scores on Sunday morning. Anthony Omuya, Nairobi News from Kenya Railways, the government and Laini Saba residents knew that the chances of a train derailing were high. Only that no one did anything to prevent it. Just four kilometres from the Nai- I robi Railway Station, a train climbing the steep hill from the capital on its way to Western Kenya suddenly leaves the plush Upper Hill area and plunges into Kibera slums. For seven kilometres, the train of death and loss squeezes through an area filled with shacks located dangerously close to the railway line. At Laini Saba where the train derailed, the railway line has been turned into a market. Hawkers spread their wares in the middle of the railway line and when a train occasionally approaches, animals and humans give way. After it has passed, life goes back to normal until another train appears in the horizon. On numerous occasions, Kenya railways has complained that human activity close to its line was endangering lives and affecting its operations but its hands are always tied by the courts. In Kibera, lack of proper drainage and sanitation has forced people to channel their waste onto the railway line. Others dump trash on the tracks. Stagnation of water and trash on the tracks has over time affected the stability of the railway, posing a serious danger to trains. To minimise this, the corporation sends a team several times a week to clean the Monday, Dec 23 - Sunday, Dec 29, 2013 nairobinews.co.ke 3 It was always a disaster waiting to happen VINCENT ACHUKA, NairobiNews firstname.lastname@example.org t had always been billed as an accident waiting to happen. Everyone tracks. Although investigations are yet to be completed, there is a great probability that these factors caused the accident. Because of the steepness of the climb from town, wagons are usually pulled by two engines; one in front and the other at the rear or in the middle. When the front section of the train derailed, there is probability that the other engine continued pushing the stricken wagons to the houses. The corporation has, on many occasions, attempted to evict encroachers living or carrying out businesses 30 feet on either side of the tracks but each time the courts come to their rescue. Through a paid advert last month, the corporation notified everyone living near the railway line to leave by November 15 but it never happened. An expose by N arbNw ioies a few days later revealed that the World Bank had given out Sh7 billion for construction of houses for those living on the Railway land in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Rueben before they could be moved out. This effectively tied the hands of the government and it appears it will never move these people out. Yesterday, the Transport and In- frastructure Cabinet secretary, Mr Michael Kamau sang the same song when he toured the site. “The people living here have insist- ed doing so in spite of the number of times we have told them to move out,” he said. “I have just established that this train was headed to Uganda and I don’t know what President Museveni is thinking right now.” He appeared more concerned at the relations between the two countries than the safety of Kenyans living near the line. Last week Kenya Railways raised Kamau: People living here have insisted on doing so in spite of the number of times we have told them to move out” alarm over the increase of accidents involving people but the slum dwellers keep insisting that they have nowhere else to go.
December 20th 2013
January 3rd 2014