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Four dead, rescue process ongoing in collapsed building

By Cyrus Ombati | Jun 10th 2012 | 2 min read

By Cyrus Ombati

Four bodies have been pulled out of the four-storey building that collapsed on Saturday trapping about 20 people in the sprawling Mlolongo area in Nairobi.

The building, which was still under construction, collapsed at 6pm leaving several occupants, including customers in a restaurant, trapped in the debris.

Police said eight others were taken to Kenyatta National Hospital where they are being treated while three others were treated and discharged.

Rescue operation continued on Sunday morning with the military, fire brigade, Kenya Red Cross joining in the exercise. Officials on the ground said they had hopes of rescuing more even though the pace of the exercise seemed to be slow because of lack of equipment and poor co-ordination.

Relatives of those missing milled at the site with hopes of seeing them even as police and the Red Cross officials set up a tent near there to account for the victims.

Eastern PPO Mercus Ochola and his Nairobi counterpart Anthony Kibuchi said the operation went on overnight and expressed hopes of getting more survivors.

“It has been a difficult exercise given the officials there did not have the required equipment to enable them dig fast to rescue those trapped but we moving fast for now,” said Ochola.

Those at the scene said voices could be heard from the debris of the four-storey collapsed building.

On Saturday, a witness said that the owner of the building was seen in the second floor inspecting his property moments before it collapsed.

A resident said the building appeared to have been constructed on a swampy area and its foundation could not hold the other three-storeys.

The building is among several others that had been sited to be illegally constructed in the area and had been marked for demolition but locals said politicians derailed the plans.

There was confusion earlier on regarding which police command would oversee the exercise after it emerged Mlolongo had been returned to Eastern Province.

It took the intervention of senior police officers to have several officers from Nairobi deployed at the scene to oversee the exercise after it emerged Athi River, in which Mlolongo lies could not get enough personnel.

The collapse came a day after another building went down along Mombasa Road near General Motors area injuring more than 10 construction workers. Officials blame authorities charged with approval and monitoring for the collapse.

“It is greed that leads to such incidents and we seem not to learn because there have been several others and lost lives,” said one provincial administrator on the scene of the Mlolongo disaster on Sunday morning.

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