Kenya: two children found alive in the rubble after a building collapsed
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Two children were pulled alive on Tuesday from the wreckage of a seven-story building in a residential area in Nairobi, rescue services said, nearly 24 hours after the building collapsed.
The Kenya Red Cross said the two children were rescued from the rubble within minutes of each other. A woman was also found but died before it could be removed from the site. The children were rushed to hospital.
“We took out three … Two children, a boy and a girl are all alive,” Barsdley Nyangi, a rescuer with the National Disaster Management Unit, told Reuters.
Earlier today, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, speaking at the scene of the collapse, said 30,000 to 40,000 buildings built without approval in the Kenyan capital were at risk.
Residents said tenants in the building, which is part of a low-income neighborhood called Pipeline Estate in southern Nairobi near the international airport, noticed cracks in the walls a week earlier. The owners of the building covered them with cement.
The cracks reappeared Monday morning, prompting authorities to ask residents to leave the building. At least 128 left, saving them from being trapped when the building collapsed
DIGGING INTO THE PIECES
Rescuers from various government departments dug through the rubble of the building with their bare hands, removing broken beds, mattresses and televisions, after a specialized army unit cut through walls and floors at the top.
Distraught parents stood nearby and watched. Among them was David Kisia, who said he received a call while at work Monday night about the collapse. His wife and three children were still missing at lunchtime on Tuesday.
“I told them my family is at the back of the building, but they insist on finishing one side first,” Kisia said.
Kenya has experienced similar tragedies in the past. Forty-nine people died last year when another building collapsed in a heavy nighttime downpour in a poor neighborhood. The government ordered the demolition of many other buildings after this incident.
High-risk buildings are generally found in the poorest areas of the city. Attempts to deal with the problem in the past have been thwarted by building owners, who are rushing to court to stop demolition or other actions.
Kidero called on magistrates and judges to consider the human cost of dangerous buildings before issuing court orders against demolition.
“They shouldn’t be in our way because the result is what we’ve seen here,” he said.
Additional reports by George Obulutsa and Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Larry King