Seven-storey building collapse in Nairobi claims at least seven lives, dozens trapped


Rescuers in the Kenyan capital Nairobi are searching for dozens of people feared trapped after the collapse of a seven-storey building in heavy rain.

TV coverage from the scene showed a crowd gathering at the Huruma residential estate as rescuers dug for survivors.

At least seven people are known to have died.

The television pictures showed a large crowd surrounding the building as police and rescue workers tried to remove debris, passing chunks of masonry to one another by hand.

Three children and one adult were taken to the city’s Kenyatta national hospital, Kenya Red Cross said on its Twitter feed.

But a spokeswoman for the Kenya Red Cross could not confirm the report.

“It is too early to speak about dead people, we don’t have that information,” Arnolda Shiundu told AFP.

“We don’t know how many people are under the rubble, but we fear there are still several of them,” she said.

“We are still searching. A crane has arrived, ambulances are here.”

People from about 150 households were taking shelter in a nearby village, the KRC said, amid what it called “chaotic scenes”.

Police told Kenya’s KTN network that at least 121 people had been rescued.
It is unclear how many people are trapped beneath seven floors of concrete.

The rainfall in addition has caused landslides, washed away houses and flooded roads.

Police told KTN that 14 people died in the Nairobi rains, including those in the collapse. Another four died when a wall toppled over, officials 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.

“We can still hear voices of people who are still inside,” Red Cross spokesman Venant Ndigila said.

Residents said that the building shook violently in the rain before collapsing.

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.

The growing middle class has been highly instrumental in the trigger of the explosion in demand for housing and a rise in real estate prices in the east African capital.

There has however been some good news for the rescuers who extracted a number of children from the wreckage throughout Friday.

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.

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