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Death toll from Makongeni building collapse rises to 7

18 December 2014, 18:25

Nairobi - Seven people have died and 11 were injured in a central Nairobi building collapse, with fears that the toll could rise as crews continued to dig through the rubble, officials said Thursday.

The four-floor building came down early Wednesday. At least 10 survivors emerged from the debris the same day, but it remained unclear how many people could still be trapped.

"Two more bodies retrieved, death toll stands at seven, casualties stands at 11," the Kenyan Red Cross wrote in a tweet on Thursday.

According to Kenyan press reports, the building in the Makongeni area was erected without a permit on unstable public land. It housed mostly students on its lower floors, while the upper storeys were still under construction.

Locals said they had alerted the government about problems at the structure, but received no response.

"We took a petition to them two years ago raising the issue of the grabbed land but no one heard us," head of a neighbours' group Ezra Olak told Kenyan paper the Daily Nation. "We do not know the owner because construction has been going on at an alarming speed, even at night."

Kenya has seen several fatal building collapses in recent years, with the speed of construction and poor quality of materials generally to blame.

Nairobi is the site of a frenetic building boom due in large part to the rapid expansion of the middle class over the past years.

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