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Collapsed buildings leave mark on survivors' memories

15 January 2015, 08:41

Nairobi - From the air above Nairobi, the desolation seem never ending on the ground.

Collapsed buildings are escalating. The injuries on Andrew Tendwa's fore head, left leg and hands are the marks from the collapsed building on Jan. 5. The collapsed building has left a mark on the survivor's memories.

The death toll on two recent building collapses in Nairobi has risen to over 10. Several residents have also been left with critical injuries, following the twin tragedies involving the collapse buildings around the city suburb.

Several survivors who cheated death and are now hospitalized with critical injuries after a building collapsed in Nairobi's Huruma residential estate on Jan. 4 live to tell the bitter memories on how they survived the tragedy.

"I was cooking supper at 8:45 p.m. before I heard people making noise and shouting that the building was collapsing. I went back inside my house on 6th floor to switch off the stove, but the building started shaking," Tendwa told Xinhua at his hospital bed on Tuesday.

It was too late for him to run for his dear life, but he could not stare death coming his way. He tried to move down stairs, but after walking two steps, the house collapsed.

"I was trapped in the wreckage and surrounded by two dead bodies. I was writhing in pain and I saved myself by throwing cups which were near where I was trapped so that the rescuers would save me," Tendwa, the survivor explained.

Tendwa, who is an accountant by profession, has to recover fully before going back to his work place.

"Living around the city is an expensive venture. We do not have the capability to choose where we want to stay. We strive for a living and spent part of our hard earned cash in paying rent," he said.

Similarly, Benjamin Maithya's relief cannot come soon. The celebration of their first born baby boy turned tragic after the child died in the rubbles after a building curved in Huruma estate midnight.

Also read: Scores injured as building collapses in Makongeni

Together with friends and relatives, Maithya welcomed his wife and their one day old baby home before the final whistles of demise of their child. Maithya's wife luckily survived the tragedy even as she was buried in the rubbles.

"I was accompanied by my friends and relatives after discharging my wife from hospital who had given birth to our first born baby. We took our supper and thereafter, I prepared tea for my visitors, but they declined, saying they were in a hurry. They left and I was left with my wife and our newborn," he said.

Subsequently, the noise from outside prompted Maithya, who lived on the second floor, to find out what was happening, but as soon as he emerged out of the building it collapsed.

"I found myself in Kenyatta National Hospital, but I was treated and discharged in the morning. I called my wife and her phone was still on though she was still stuck in the rubble. She was rescued and was in a stable condition though the baby had passed away," he recounts.

According to the National Construction Authority (NCA) Senior Investigations Officer Chrispus Ndinyo, NCA has halted the construction activities in eight sites in Kenya's capital, since they do not meet the standards.

Ndinyo said the worrying rate of buildings collapsing in Nairobi has prompted them to carry out investigations and stop constructions that do not comply with required standards.

He also warned contractors who are erecting buildings which have not been approved to comply with the NCA regulations before they engage in construction work around the city.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered government inspectors to assess the safety standards on buildings across the city. He said developers who violate building codes will be prosecuted.

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- Xinhua


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