At least two people were killed and 38 others rescued on Sunday evening when a seven-storey residential building collapsed in Nairobi’s Huruma estate.
Police said one of the deceased died on arrival at the Kenyatta National Hospital while another body of a child was retrieved from the rubbles.
Many are still thought to be trapped in the rubbles several hours since the incident happened. Officials said 38 survivors were rushed to KNH with slight injuries.
The building collapsed on Sunday at about 8 pm before a search and rescue operation was launched.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero visited the scene and announced the rescue operation would continue.
“It may take time but we have officials who will do it to the end,” said Kidero.
Joint rescue efforts from the military, Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre, St John’s Ambulance, the Kenya Red Cross Society, the Nairobi City Fire Brigade and the National Youth Service were launched in efforts to rescue those who were trapped.
The Kenya Red Cross official Nick Thiongo said they could not trace at least three families.
“Most of the occupants were away for holidays and we fear the toll could have been higher. We are still hoping to get survivors,” said Thiong’o.
He added preliminary findings had shown all the floors were occupied by the time the house went down.
Nairobi County official Tom Odongo said the upper floors were built in quick succession, putting pressure on the lower floors.
He added the construction had not been approved by local authorities.
“The fault lies with the developer, not the county government, because responsibility starts with the individual and we had warned even residents not to occupy it,” Mr Odongo said.
Residents said several county officials had visited the house after it started to develop cracks on some floors.
“The officials visited here several times and warned against occupation and construction. But we saw it being constructed few months later,” said a resident Joseph Njoroge.
When it collapsed, many residents rushed there and started to dig in using their bare hands to rescue those trapped.
The collapsed building borders several others which officials said could be in danger.
The incident came barely a month after another residential flat collapsed in Nairobi’s Kaloleni Estate in which eight people died and several others injured.
The owner of the Kaloleni building has since been arrested and is expected in court on Monday. Standard
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