State should ensure buildings are fit for human habitation

Yet another tragedy and more fatalities were reported from another collapsed building in the country yesterday.
Seven pupils were confirmed dead following the collapse of the two-storey Precious Talent Top School in Nairobi’s Dagorreti. Tens of others were injured, some severely, after the early morning tragedy.

The outrage that greeted the grim news ought to prompt urgent action from the authorities.

Buildings collapse as a result of, among others, weak foundations, use of substandard materials or poor workmanship. In some cases, scrap metal is used to reinforce buildings instead of steel, low quality stones and incorrect concrete ratios also weaken a structure.

That’s why we must ask the the hard questions: Who owns the school? Who supervised the civil engineering works of the building? Who approved it as fit for habitation? Did officials from the Ministry of Education inspect the building? What does the National Construction Authority know about this building?

Who gave the school an operating licence, given the structure looked unfinished, was not conducive for learning and therefore dangerous for learners?

Yet it is because this tragedy has happened after others and after promises from the authorities to ensure that all buildings are up standard that should make us angry.

The rickety structure that some 800 students - hungry for an education in the hope of securing their future- sat in was not meant to be a school. But it did not sprout out of nowhere. Someone saw it coming up and chose to look the other way ending with disastrous consequences.

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Reports that the students had complained to school authorities about gaping cracks on the walls need to be investigated and those found to have done nothing about them severely punished.

Since 2011, more than five buildings have collapsed in the city with nearly 100 lives lost needlessly. The worst tragedy happened in April 2016 when a six-storey building collapsed following a heavy downpour that swept away its foundation.

Worst of all, tragedies of this nature are common in low income areas where businessmen have little regard for law and order and most importantly, safety.

The Government should move with speed to ensure that all schools and other buildings across the city a fit for habitation to avoid any more tragedies.

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Precious Talent Top SchoolBuilding collapseDagorreti