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Death toll from Huruma building collapse rises to 26

05 May 2016, 07:58

Nairobi - The death toll from a building which collapsed in Huruma, Nairobi last week due to heavy rains rose to 26 on Wednesday after three more bodies were retrieved from the debris.

The National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU) Incident Commander Paius Masai said the three bodies were pulled out of the building on Tuesday night in the rescue operation which also saw nine rabbits rescued.

"Three more bodies were recovered last night. Nine rabbits were also rescued alive from the debris and one was found dead. So far 136 people have been rescued alive, 26 confirmed dead and 93 others are still missing," Masai said.

He said rescue operation which kicked off last Friday was still continuing after the six-story residential building which had been earlier earmarked for demolition, collapsed in Nairobi's low-income Huruma residential estate.

Read Also: Huruma 'miracle' baby was found inside a bucket

"We appeal to anyone who has a missing relative to be patient since the exercise is delicate due to balancing both safety of rescuers and victims," Masai said.

Families have also been displaced, with Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) confirming that approximately 200 households had been affected and were currently camping at a chief office in Kinyago village in Eastleigh.

The KRCS said the rabbits were trapped in the collapsed building for five days of search and rescue operation.

"Rescuers at collapsed building in Huruma, rescued 9 rabbits alive. Hope of life under the rubble," the humanitarian agency said, noting that the animals were found in one of the rooms there giving an indication one of the tenants stayed with them.

The building, according to residents, was built on a waterway, blocking the passage of water which could have weakened its structure and collapsed after heavy rains and flooding on Friday night.

Unconfirmed reports indicate there was no construction plan and that the building had not been approved.

Residents said owners and developers of such structures regularly use court orders to block Nairobi County from pulling down structures earmarked for demolition.

Nairobi County police commander Japheth Koome said the search which is being carried out professionally to ensure no life is lost. He said rescue teams were now on the fourth floor.

Read Also: Four days later, rescuers pull child out of collapsed Huruma building

"The rescue operation is being done by professionals and we will make sure that we get anyone who is alive out," Koome said.

According to rescuers, two floors sank into the ground and people are still feared trapped inside the building which collapsed following heavy rains that have been pounding Nairobi and its environs.

The Red Cross said it has mobilised partner support to provide heavy machinery resources, and participating in search and rescue.

Currently, the humanitarian agency is working with National Youth Service (NYS), and the military, which have deployed machinery to support the operation.

The retrieval of three bodies comes after a six months old baby girl was pulled out alive from the rubble, four days after the incident occurred.

There were celebrations when 'baby Favour' whose real name is Dealeryn Saisi Wasike was found suckling her fingers in a basin wrapped in a blanket early Tuesday.

The baby has since been reunited with her father, Ralson Saisi Wasike while the body of her mother was found at a morgue.

The baby was identified by her father after she was taken to hospital for treatment, the Red Cross said.

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- Xinhua


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