Samburu County is on spotlight over its ill preparedness for fire disasters even as the country celebrates eight years of devolution supported development.
Media reports reveal that the county would be caught off-guard should it experience any fire accident, pointing to failure by the devolved unit to invest in firefighting equipment and personnel despite budgetary allocations in every financial year.
While speaking to a media house, a senior county government official who begged for anonymity said that the budget that is usually set aside for firefighting engines every financial year is often diverted to other more important projects.
The official, in an interview, said that at least Sh30 million had been set aside to buy one fire engine but none has been bought yet.
“We have been allocating money for it but in the midst, they divert it to roads and other projects. Fire engines are also important as roads because Maralal town is growing up so fast,” he said.
These revelations point to a worrying picture even as Maralal town, which is the Samburu’s capital town, continues to experience exponential growth.
Available reports reveal that Maralal County Council acquired a firefighting engine in 2013, which turned out to be faulty and was therefore abandoned at the expense of a new one.
Samburu residents are now carrying out to the government to acquire modern firefighting equipment saying that it was disappointing that one of the largest counties in the country lacked a fire engine.
Whenever there is a fire accident in the county, the residents have to rely on water bowsers, where they have to carry water from the bowsers in buckets and try to put out the fire.
While speaking to the media, Samburu County Deputy Governor Julius Leseeto admitted that the County’s preparedness to tackle fire outbreaks is still wanting.
However, he said the county administration has plans to purchase at least one firefighting engine to help disaster management and response teams fight fire outbreaks.
“We have assessed keenly and we have found that there are great risks should there be fires. We are planning to have one to help us deal with fire tragedies,” Leseeto said.
He said the previous fire engine that was donated to the Maralal county council was faulty and required a lot of money to repair.
He said the county cabinet found it economical to buy a new one instead of repairing the “unfit” ones.
Mr Leseeto also said they will also educate the public on safety and disaster management and improve on quick response strategies.