Sunday 11 December 2016

Hundreds homeless as condemned buildings demolished in Kenya

Published 06/05/2016 | 17:06

Residents are evicted from their apartment blocks close to the site of last week's building collapse in the Huruma neighbourhood of Nairobi, Kenya (AP)
Residents are evicted from their apartment blocks close to the site of last week's building collapse in the Huruma neighbourhood of Nairobi, Kenya (AP)

As emergency workers retrieved four bodies from a building that collapsed a week ago, bringing the death toll to 41, hundreds of Nairobi residents have been evicted from nearby buildings that are being torn down to prevent other deadly disasters.

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The demolitions began even as the rescuers continued digging the debris from the seven-story building which collapsed a week ago.

Four survivors were rescued on Thursday but one died on arrival at hospital. A pregnant woman among the four rescued also lost her baby. At least 70 people remain missing and as rescue work continued in the rain on Friday, hopes dimmed of finding more survivors.

Nairobi is facing a period of heavy seasonal rains and officials are working to avert other disasters.

After eight buildings collapsed and killed 15 people in the country last year, an audit of Kenya's buildings found that 58% in Nairobi are unfit for habitation.

Following this building collapse, authorities are taking action by tearing down condemned buildings.

But residents evicted from at least six buildings in the Huruma neighbourhood complained they were not given enough time to find alternative accommodation.

"I have stayed in this apartment block for more than three years. Since our neighbours' building collapsed we were given less than a week's notice to leave which is not enough," Anna Kaloki said.

"My husband our two children and I have moved in with my cousin, her husband and their two children, in their single-roomed apartment," she said.

She said her furniture could not fit in her cousin's apartment and was left out in the rain. Ms Kaloki said her husband is a casual labourer and she sells sarongs on the street and they cannot afford to raise the money needed to rent a new room.

"Sometimes the government does things without considering the people and we are not the ones who have done wrong we are just tenants," she said.

"The people who constructed these substandard buildings should be forced to get us alternative accommodation and we should not pay for it."

Press Association

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