Multi-storey building collapses amid severe floods in Nairobi

It was not immediately clear on Saturday morning how many people were trapped in the rubble or whether there were any fatalities. Photo by AFP

It was not immediately clear on Saturday morning how many people were trapped in the rubble or whether there were any fatalities. Photo by AFP

NAIROBI: A six-story residential building in a low income area of the Kenyan capital collapsed Friday under heavy rain and flooding, trapping an unknown number of people in the rubble, Kenyan officials said.

A search-and-rescue team managed to pull three children and an adult out from the remains of the building in the Huruma area, the Kenya Red Cross said. It was not immediately clear whether there were fatalities.

The Red Cross said 150 building units and adjacent homes were affected.

Live TV footage showed the National Youth Service and firefighters removing stones by hand and a crowd cheering when a child was removed from the rubble.

Hours-long traffic jams caused by flooded roads delayed rescue teams trying to reach the scene, Japheth Koome, Nairobi’s police chief, said. Kenya is in the midst of its April-May rainy season.

Because of a high demand for housing in Nairobi, some property developers bypass building regulations to cut costs and maximize profits. The Architectural Society of Kenya has estimated that 50 percent of structures in Nairobi are not up to code.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last year ordered an audit of all the buildings in the country to see if they are up to code after eight buildings collapsed, killing at least 15 people.

The report from the audit by the National Construction Authority found that 58 percent of buildings in the capital were unfit to live in. The majority of Nairobi’s population live in low income areas or slums. – AP

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