Monday 16 January 2017

Nairobi building collapse death toll rises to 16

Tom Odula

Published 02/05/2016 | 02:30

Rescue workers searching for residents feared trapped in the rubble of a six-storey building that collapsed after days of heavy rain in Nairobi. Photo: Reuters
Rescue workers searching for residents feared trapped in the rubble of a six-storey building that collapsed after days of heavy rain in Nairobi. Photo: Reuters

Kenyan rescuers yesterday continued searching for survivors of a building collapse that took place in a low income area of Nairobi on Friday, as officials said the death toll had risen to 16 and 73 people remain missing.

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It emerged that the ground and first floor had sunk following heavy rains.

The building, next to a river, had been declared unfit for human habitation by Kenya’s National Construction Authority but was not torn down.

Bribe-taking officers in the county government were responsible for allowing contractors to bypass building codes, Nairobi governor Evan Kidero said. He vowed to fire those responsible.

Police have ordered the building’s owner to turn himself in for questioning.

“People who’ve died in Huruma have died an unnecessary death.

“That death is a product of corruption... someone is paid $10,000 or $20,000 to approve the building that cost the lives of Kenyans,” legislator Johnson Sakaja said.

Kenyan military personnel led the rescue operation using heavy machinery to remove concrete slabs. About 300 residents of two adjacent buildings, also built close the river, were evacuated. 

Taking advantage of a high demand for housing in Nairobi, some property developers have bypassed building regulations to cut costs and maximize profits.

Irish Independent

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