Maragua residents now want the central and county governments to urgently set aside funds to unclog sewerage systems so as to avert floods and diseases.
As the October-December rains begin, they want the authorities to avert looming floods in the town and its environs.
The town has a night urban population of 5,684, with a daily peak on market days of over 15,000.
Residents have proposed a budget of Sh100 million, which they say should go to unclogging sewer lines, reestablishing stormwater drainage routes and providing mosquito nets, especially for the elderly, the disabled and children.
They say the flood-prone areas of Border, Soweto, Milimani, Rurii and Gikindu need urgent mitigation measures.
With the death of the Kazi Mtaani programme, under which local jobless young people cleaned up drainage and sewer lines, the system is clogged again, becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes and emitting a bad odour.
“We want the government to ensure that the two kilometres of open trench that serves as the main sewer drainage for the town is cleared and sprayed with chemicals to kill mosquitoes so as to avert an outbreak of both malaria and waterborne diseases,” said Residents Welfare Association’s coordinator Omar Maluki.
He added that the work needs tractors, excavators, exhausters and the laying of culverts.
"Had we been repairing and beefing up existing structures, we would not be where we are. We dread the rain when our farming community is praying hard for it. Leadership has everything to do with this mess," he said.
Mr Maluki said if elected leaders who control devolved funds were to pool resources from the five percent of allocations set aside for emergencies, the issue would not be spreading anxiety.
Murang’a County’s deputy director of medical services, Dr Stephen Ngigi, said the matter is of grave concern and would have been resolved at least five months before the onset of the rains.
“We have a serious malaria and waterborne diseases problem in Maragua town and the issue is always aggravated by floods when it rains,” he said.
“With poor drainage and sewer disposal systems, rains always come as a blessing to many but a curse to some residents who live near the open trench, blocked sewer lines and on lowlands susceptible to flooding.”
He said Maragua Level Four hospital always readies itself for a crisis during rainy seasons.
Health executive Joseph Mbai said his department was setting up an action plan that will ensure there is no health crisis.
The provision of clean water will be scaled up, he said, and all health facilities armed with anti-malaria medicines and pregnant mothers given mosquito nets.
“I know of plans to unclog most of the sewers and drainage lines in as many towns as possible that have been blocked owing to human indiscipline in using the trenches as dumpsites for all manner of garbage,” he said.
“But we are liaising with the central government to ensure that the rains that usually pound this region between November and December do not end up being a source of losses.”