Saturday 23 March 2019

Twelve crushed to death as children trapped in fallen building

Emergency: Hundreds of people surround the collapsed building as children are pulled from the wreckage by rescue workers. Photo: Reuters/Temilade Adelaja
Emergency: Hundreds of people surround the collapsed building as children are pulled from the wreckage by rescue workers. Photo: Reuters/Temilade Adelaja

Eromo Egbejule

Twelve people died and more than 100 were believed to be trapped after a building housing a private school caved in yesterday morning in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital.

At least 25 children were rescued from the rubble of the three-storey structure yesterday. Forty three people were injured and taken to hospital.

Locals, some digging amid dusty concrete slabs with their bare hands, joined the emergency services in a rescue operation to find people trapped underneath. Many people were brought out motionless but full casualty figures were last night unknown.

Footage shared on social media showed crowds of people overlooking the scene, cheering on rescuers as they continued to search for survivors.

The cause of the collapse was not confirmed, but the densely populated district is home to many old buildings - some the relics of colonial times - that have had haphazard additional building work done to them.

Locals said the building had been marked for demolition more than once by the government, but had somehow managed to escape being bulldozed.

Government officials said the owners had no permit to run a school in what was a residential building.

"It is evident that Lagos state is not aware of such a school", Akinwunmi Ambode, the Lagos state governor, told reporters at the scene. "It is illegal and the culprits will face the law," he added.

The building was in the Ita-faji area of Lagos island, the original heart of the lagoon city before it expanded onto the mainland. Local resident Yomi Olaniy said four buildings had collapsed in the area in the past few years.

In 2016, more than 100 people were killed when a church came down in the southeast. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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