'It was like a bomb,' eye witnesses' tale of deadly Huruma collapse

It was a quiet Friday evening. Caroline Mwanzia had just had her dinner. She sat in her house watching television, the clock-ticking, her body clock counting down to her bedtime. Outside, the rains were pounding. The hum of the rain as the raindrops hit her iron sheets is all she could hear. It was normal. Tranquil.
Suddenly there was a loud bang – like a bomb—she said.

"It was just after we had had supper and now everybody was watching news. That's when we heard a loud bang. We rushed out in shock just to see the building collapsing. Then we saw a huge cloud of dust filling the air, thanks to street lights," she told The Standard on Sunday.

They all froze. All the neighbours had moved out to their balconies in the adjacent buildings, others were peeping through the windows. Watching. 
"We all went into shock that we couldn't even take photos ...It was a very shocking loud noise at night...we saw the building sinking, and the huge cloud of dust. That's when we knew we could be in danger and our neighbours needed our help. We ran outside," she said in an interview early Saturday.

As the neighbours in Huruma scrambled, some screaming, others shouting, police who were patrolling the area saw what had happened and dialed the emergency numbers. The fire engines, the ambulances, the National Youth Service and the rescue workers came.

"The whole was place was now another world," she said.
For Caroline, the collapse of the building is a signal that shortcuts were taken in its construction.

"I do blame the Landlords, contractors and city to blame for all these," she said.

Another eye-witness Nerea Sikote, 39, an administrator with the Mission of Hope in Huruma, a non-governmental organization that deals with kids, the signs had been there "for a long time".

"We saw this coming long long time ago when John Michuki was the Environment Minister. He warned all those living near buildings along the riverbanks to vacate but they never did. Many have moved out but those who don't know keep coming to the building," she told The Standard on Sunday.

Nerea said she had done her part to warn some potential residents who wanted to occupy the house, but then it is the law of supply and demand.

"Some of the rooms were a bit spacious and a bit cheaper than other houses around," she said.
Plus, she added, people love houses next to the riverbanks.

'This is just one the many houses along here. If nothing is done many more will have suffer," she said.