Flying loos put women at risk

NAIROBI - Kenya's poorest women risk the deadly diseases related to poor sanitation because "endemic" sexual violence in the capital's sprawling slums keeps them away from communal toilets, a rights group said yesterday.

NAIROBI - Kenya's poorest women risk the deadly diseases related to poor sanitation because "endemic" sexual violence in the capital's sprawling slums keeps them away from communal toilets, a rights group said yesterday.

About 60percent of Nairobi residents, or two million people, live in shacks with limited access to water, sanitation and other services.

Sewage runs through ditches and pathways are littered with garbage and human waste.

"Women and girls in Nairobi's slums live under the constant threat of sexual violence," Amnesty International said in a new report on Kenyan women in slums.

"Unable to leave their one-roomed houses after dark, many women in informal settlements resort to 'flying toilets' - using plastic bags thrown from the home to dispose of waste."

Amnesty International said these women were at risk of communicable diseases such as cholera and dysentery.

The group criticised the slum's lack of policing and the government's failure to enforce planning laws and regulations in the settlements.

"There is a huge gap between what the government commits to do, and what is going on in the slums," said Godfrey Odongo of Amnesty International.

Kenya is east Africa's largest economy and the population of Nairobi is expected to double to six million by 2025.

This will put pressure on the city's slums. Already, Nairobi's slum-dwellers live on just five percent of the city's residential area, in what aid workers say are "ticking time bombs". - Reuters

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