5 miss­ing in Nairobi build­ing col­lapse

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

NAIROBI: About 5 peo­ple were miss­ing af­ter a seven-storey build­ing col­lapsed in a res­i­den­tial area of Nairobi, res­cue ser­vices said yes­ter­day,

The city’s gov­er­nor ap­pealed to its owner to come for­ward and pro­vide ar­chi­tec­tural plans to help res­cuers. Gov­er­nor Evans Kidero, speak­ing at the scene, said at least 30 000 to 40 000 build­ings con­structed with­out ap­proval in the Kenyan cap­i­tal were at risk.

Of­fi­cials said the ten­ants had been asked to leave on Mon­day af­ter re­port­ing cracks in the walls.

“Peo­ple evac­u­ated but some might have been left be­hind,” said Pius Ma­sai, deputy di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Unit.

Kenya has seen sim­i­lar tragedies in the past. A to­tal of 49 peo­ple died in the mid­dle of last year when another build­ing col­lapsed dur­ing a heavy, night-time down­pour in a poor neigh­bour­hood af­ter whichthe govern­ment or­dered the de­mo­li­tion of many other build­ings.

“We hadn’t got to a point where we were go­ing to de­mol­ish it,” Kidero said of the col­lapsed build­ing.

The struc­ture had been listed for de­mo­li­tion. Res­i­dents said they had no­ticed cracks a week ear­lier and that they were plas­tered over with ce­ment by its own­ers, be­fore re-emerg­ing again on Mon­day morn­ing, prompt­ing the call to leave.

The ad­vice to leave spared some who might have been trapped when the build­ing came down.

“Some came from work late and tried to go in and col­lect their goods,” said Dennis Mosoti, a ten­ant in the build­ing.

Res­cuers drawn from var­i­ous govern­ment de­part­ments, in­clud­ing the youth ser­vice, dug through the rub­ble with bare hands, pulling out items like bro­ken beds, mat­tresses and tele­vi­sion sets.

This was af­ter a spe­cial­ist unit from the mil­i­tary cut through walls and floors at the top.

Dis­traught rel­a­tives stood nearby and watched.

They in­cluded David Kisa, who said he got a call at work on Mon­day night about the col­lapse. His wife and three chil­dren were still miss­ing at lunchtime yes­ter­day.

Most of the risky build­ings are usu­ally in the poorer sec­tions of the city. At­tempts to deal with the prob­lem in the past have been stymied by own­ers of the build­ings, who rush to court to stop de­mo­li­tion or other ac­tions.

Kidero asked mag­is­trates and judges to con­sider the hu­man cost of un­safe build­ings be­fore is­su­ing court or­ders against de­mo­li­tion.

“They should not come in our way be­cause the re­sult is what we have seen here,”Kidero went on to say. – Reuters

Emer­gency per­son­nel work at the scene af­ter a build­ing col­lapsed in a res­i­den­tial area of Nairobi, Kenya yes­ter­day.

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