Kenya building toll hits 15

October 21, 2009 12:00 am

, KIAMBU, Kenya, Oct 21 – The death toll from the collapsed building in Kiambu town rose to 15 after more bodies were recovered on Wednesday.

Police and officials from the Kenya Red Cross said four of the bodies were recovered on Wednesday adding up to the other eleven which were pulled out since Monday when the building went down.

“We now have 15 as the number of bodies which have been recovered so far. Four of them were recovered today (Wednesday) but the search is still going on,” Kenya Red Cross Spokesman Titus Mung’ou said.

Of these, he said, “eleven have been positively identified and four have not been identified.”

Mr Mung’ou told Capital News that the number of the missing persons had drastically reduced to nine “because most people who had been reported missing have either been found alive or their bodies have been pulled out of the rubble.”

Central Provincial Police Chief John M’bijiwe said detectives were still searching for the owner of the five-storey building for questioning.

“We are still looking for him and we are actually appealing for assistance from members of the public to assist us. We are also calling upon him to volunteer and surrender himself to us because eventually we will get him,” he said.

He said the owner is required to, among other things, produce a structural plan for his building.

“We have been told the problem was all about the poor structure of the building, that is why we want him to come and explain a few things,” Mr M’bijiwe said adding that the construction supervisor was also on their wanted list.

The five-storey building went down on Monday afternoon while under construction. Most of those trapped were casual laborers and some women who had gone to sell food.

Bodies of some of the women were recovered on Tuesday and were among those positively identified by relatives on Wednesday, according to the Kenya Red Cross officials.

Combined rescue efforts by the Kenya Red Cross, Chinese rescue experts, the military, General Service Unit personnel and the Municipal Council of Kiambu were still sifting through the debris in search of those reported missing, two days after the building collapsed.

The search and rescue exercise was scheduled to be called off on Wednesday but the Kenya Red Cross officials said it had been extended to Thursday.

“That was the initial projection but it looks like it will go on until Thursday when we are expecting to conclude the whole exercise,” Mr Mung’ou said.


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