Over 95 Die From Kenyan Pipeline Explosion

Liz De La Torre

On Monday, Sept. 12, a gasoline pipeline exploded in one of the slums in Nairobi, Kenya, killing over 95 people and wounding over 100 others. The Sinai slum, one of the major slums in Nairobi that houses 500,000 people, is built on the surface of a pipeline as well as the sewer. At 9:00 a.m. on Monday, the pipeline burst in the Sinai slum, leaking gas into the sewer, and caught fire as people tried to collect the fuel in pails.

Researchers who have studied living conditions in slums have all cited this as dangerous and unsanitary, and they say that people who live nearby slums will be prone to poisoning, electrocution, fires, and explosions. Amnesty International agrees: “This latest incident of fire starkly illustrates the particular vulnerability and inadequate conditions faced by people living in slums and informal settlements.”

Evidently, there were illegal residents in Sinai that were supposed to have moved to another location. Residents such as Donald Wafula have said that “The government knows people are living on this pipeline. The reason they let this slum exist is because they get votes from the slum. It is very easy to control people who are hungry, but not people who are full.”

In fact, many sources say that politics has a lot to do with nothing being changed. Musembi Mumo, the chairman at the Architectural Association of Kenya, says Kenyan politicians are very selfish and are only motivated by self-interests: “As long as they vote for him, who cares if they die; new voters will [be] born tomorrow.”