Search for Nairobi collapse survivors


kenyaRescuers in the Kenyan capital Nairobi are searching for people feared trapped after the collapse of a residential building in heavy rain.

At least seven people are known to have died, and 121 people rescued, including a baby on Saturday morning.

The Red Cross criticised “chaotic scenes” as rescuers arrived. It is unclear how many people are trapped.

There are conflicting reports as to whether the building had six or seven storeys.

The rainfall has caused landslides, washed away houses and flooded roads. Police said 14 people died in the Nairobi rains, including those in the collapse. Another four died when a wall toppled over.

Steven Oundo, the chair of Kenya’s National Construction Authority, told KTN there would be an investigation into whether the building had a certificate allowing people to live inside.

“The building went down during the heavy rains, but we still want to establish if all the procedures were followed when it was constructed,” Nairobi’s deputy governor Jonathan Mueke told reporters at the scene.

He said the building, which reports in Nairobi said was built two years ago, did not have planning permission.

Kenya’s KTN network said on Saturday morning that a nearby building was being evacuated in case it too collapsed. Across the city, more than 800 homes were affected by the flooding, Kenya’s Red Cross said.

The Huruma neighbourhood is a poor district on the outskirts of Nairobi made up of narrow streets, meaning firefighters struggled to get to the scene and were delayed by large crowds.

After some time, the army took charge of the rescue with the help of the Kenyan Red Cross.

Residents said that the building, which was on the edge of a river, shook violently in the rain before collapsing.

“I think it appears that some people are getting impatient but as it is we have got indications that there are people who are still trapped in the rubble,” said Nathan Macharia Kigotho, the director of the national disaster operation centre.

“We don’t want to use heavy machines because it is likely to crumble and crush them.”

Poor building standards are a fact of life in Kenya, correspondents say. A survey carried out last year found that more than half the buildings in the capital were unfit for habitation.

The high demand for housing in Nairobi has led to some property developers bypassing building regulations to reduce costs and increase profits.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last year ordered an audit of all the buildings in the country after a spate of collapses.

Meanwhile two boys are missing in another part of the flood-hit country after going herding, according to the Red Cross.


Source: BBC

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