Property developers flooded with anguish as heavy rains pound Kenya

The ongoing El-Nino rains in Kenya have become property developers' worst nightmare.

Accra floods

by Bedah Mengo

Some developers in the East African nation have stopped their projects, waiting for the rains to ease. Others are counting losses as the deluge has made roads impassable, making it difficult for construction vehicles to access sites, while the unlucky ones have seen their projects destroyed by flash floods.

Accra floods

In the capital Nairobi, where there is increased construction of houses, property developers are not happy.
The worst affected are those engaging in housing projects, in particular, in satellite towns on the outskirts of Nairobi, where most roads are not tarmacked and the drainage system is not well-planned.

“I have no choice but to stop construction until the rains subside. You cannot fight nature,” said contractor Martin Kyalo, who is building a block of flats in Mlolongo on the outskirt of Nairobi.

With his team, he has completed the foundation of the building and was, thus, beginning to build the walls, but the rains have made it difficult for them to continue with the work.

“I came to the site the other day and found the whole project submerged in floodwater. It had rained heavily the previous night. The water had destroyed part of the walls we had started building,” he said Monday.

Having anticipated the flooding, the contractor requested the owner a few days earlier to avail a generator and a pump, which they had been using to pump water out of the site.

“Whenever it rains heavily in the evening, we come in the morning and find the whole project flooded. We have to spend more than an hour pumping water out of the site before we can go on with the work,” he said.

The extra work has led to increased costs as they have to fuel the generator and pay those doing the work.
Once the water is out, the workers could continue with the construction work, but with the rains, which normally come in the evening, they have to stop the job early.

“By the time the rains end in January as predicted, we would have barely moved because of the delays and destruction. Our costs would have further gone up,” he said.

Also hit hard by the heavy rains are land owners selling the resource in areas around Nairobi.
With most of the areas where the land is located being away from the tarmac road, the sellers had to organize site visits for buyers as the rains have made roads impassable.

“You cannot plan for a site visit at this time because people would go there and probably the vehicles get stuck in the mud. That would be the end of your attempt to sell the land,” said Antony Kuyo, a real estate consultant in Nairobi.

Kuyo added there would be little activity in the land selling sector during this El Nino period due to the impassable roads.

“When buying land, accessibility is one of the top things potential buyers look at before making a decision to buy the property. If they go there and see the road is muddy, they would not return,” he said, adding the decline in land selling activities would heap losses to land sellers, particularly those with loans.

Landlords with complete house are not spared as some are losing tenants due to bad roads and flooding of houses.

The El Nino rains, which started last month, would continue until the end of January next year, the Kenya Meteorological Department said in an early forecast. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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