At least two people have been killed in Kenya’s capital after the collapse of a six-storey residential building, as rescuers struggled to reach those feared trapped under a mountain of rubble.
It was not immediately clear how many people were inside when the structure fell on Friday morning. The Kenya Red Cross said in a Twitter post 11 people had been rescued by late afternoon.
As rescue operations continued in Nairobi’s Tassia estate, scores of people clustered around the pancaked structure waiting to find news of their family and friends.
Tassia Collapsed Building Update: 11 people rescued so far, specialised search and rescue teams continue with operations.
Psychosocial support services and tracing desk set up a block away from the incident.
Families searching for loved ones can reach us on 0715820219. pic.twitter.com/JyTMFpUpzo
— Kenya Red Cross (@KenyaRedCross) December 6, 2019
The Associated Press news agency quoted officials as saying two people had been killed, with at least eight injured.
Separately, Reuben Ndolo, the Nairobi regional police commander, told Reuters news agency: “Three people have died, and 27 others have been rushed to hospital. One was seriously injured.”
“Tragedy has struck us again,” public works official Gordon Kihalangwa said. “Some people have been trapped inside and we are doing our best to free them.”
Building collapses are common in Nairobi, where housing is in high demand and unscrupulous developers often bypass regulations.
After eight buildings collapsed and killed 15 people in Kenya in 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered an audit of all the country’s buildings to see if they were up to code.
The National Construction Authority found that 58 percent of buildings in the capital were unfit for habitation.