An Investigation of Fire Risk in Kiandutu slums in Thika Municipality, Kenya.
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Slums play many roles in city life. Slums, poverty and the informal sector are closely related, but are by no means congruent. As the place of residence of low-cost laborers, they keep the wheels of the city working in many different ways. They are adept at producing the services and commercial activities that the formal sector fails to provide through the mobilization of local enterprise and industry. They are the recipients of the city‟s externalities: noxious industry, waste materials, ill health, fires, crime and social dysfunction, and fragile, dangerous or polluted land that no one else wants. Slum fires are a major disaster killer in Kenya. This study aimed at a detailed investigation of the factors that cause slum fire risks through analysis of the hazards, social, political and economic reasons underlying resilience and vulnerability to provide basis for the right intervention. The objective of the study was to investigate the risks associated with fire outbreaks in Kiandutu slums. The study undertook to establish the levels of perception, vulnerability, resilience, mitigation and social capital associated with fire risks. A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out to establish the determinants of fire risk in Kiandutu slums. Quantitative data were solicited through structured focused interviews with respondents in selected households. Focused group discussions and key informant interviews were done to collect in depth data to complement the quantitative data. The study targeted household heads who were residents in the area in the preceding one year. Cluster sampling was used to identify the villages for the study. Simple random sampling was then used to obtain the household samples from two villages and a total of 280 respondents. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17. The findings of this study will be used to furnish a solid foundation for the Kenya Ministries of Public Health and Sanitation, Local Government, Special Programmes among others to curb slum fires and thus be in line with the rest of the world in implementing the Hyogo 2005-2015 Declaration and Framework of Action: building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters, Millennium Development Goals and Vision 2030.