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Kenya death toll after building collapse at 21


Nairobi, Kenya | AFP |

The death toll in the collapse of a six-storey building in Nairobi rose to 21 on Monday after four more bodies were pulled from the rubble of the residential structure that gave way during weekend storms.

“As of today we have 21 people dead so far after four bodies were retrieved in the night and another died in hospital,” the head of the National Disaster Management Unit, Pius Masai, told reporters, revising a previous count of 16 dead.

Authorities had previously put the number of deaths in Friday’s collapse of the building in the low-income district of Huruma at 16.

But the Kenya Red Cross said 60 people were still missing, meaning the final toll could be much higher, although it was unclear whether those sought were at home when the building buckled.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had Saturday visited the ruins of the building, where residents perished after concrete floors collapsed on top of each other.

Building authorities had condemned the bloc, home to more than 150 families, but the order to evacuate and carry out the demolition had been ignored.

The overall death toll from the severe rains meanwhile rose to 23 for Nairobi as a whole.

The collapse of the residential bloc in a torrential downpour prompted questions over the quality of a construction completed only two years ago near a river.

Two neighbouring buildings were declared unsafe and were evacuated.

The downpours were the heaviest since the start of the rainy season and caused flooding and landslides in many areas of the capital.

Elsewhere in the city, two people were swept away in their vehicle in an industrial district, four people died when a wall collapsed and another victim drowned, police said.

Saturday, the Red Cross had indicated around 50 people were missing after the drama in Huruma. Some residents were away, taking advantage of the May Day break to visit family and friends outside the city with Monday a public holiday.

Troops were leading operations to rescue dozens of other residents.

Several buildings have collapsed in Kenya in recent years amid a wave of construction — but building quality has been questioned amid claims that unscrupulous developers have been getting around regulations by paying bribes to local authorities.

Building collpase

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