Fire Guts Lamu's Hidabo Slum, Leaves 60 Families Homeless

At least 60 of Hidabo residents spent the night in the cold on Tuesday after their houses were gutted down by a fierce fire.

A total of 12 houses were burnt to ashes at the slum area which is predominantly occupied by more than 2000 squatters, according to Langoni Location area Chief Mr Haidar Fakii who was at the scene during the incident.

The fire is said to have begun from an elderly woman kitchen at around 5.30pm and was fanned by strong winds which was blowing during that time.

“The fire started in one of the Makuti houses. Twelve houses were razed to ashes and we have more than 60 people who are directly affected by this tragedy. No one died or injured in the incident which was put out by members of the public,” said Mr Fakii.

Lamu County Government Head of Enforcement Mr Haji Mahmoud said efforts to put out the fire were hindered by the fact that the makuti houses at the Hidabo slums are closely placed, making it hard for the County firefighting vehicle to access the scene of the incident.

Locals in cooperation with the 10 county security enforcement officers resorted to manually putting out the fire using sand and water.

“We have a modern firefighting engine bought by the county government from Japan and it is at Mokowe serving the mainland areas.  We couldn’t have used it for the Hidabo incident since there is no road in Lamu. The small fire fighting vehicle in town is also incapacitated since the road to Hidabo is inaccessible but all in all we were able to put out the fire,” said Mr Mahmoud.

This is not the first incident in the slums.

In April, 2015, three houses at Hidabo were torched down after fire broke out at 12pm leading to the destruction of property of unknown value.

(Story by Nakeesha Wema-Lamu)

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