Kenya tragedy operation called off

October 22, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – Search and rescue operations at the collapsed building in Kiambu have now been called off.

The operation was halted before dawn after one more body was found bringing the number retrieved so far to 16. Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) Public Relations Manager Titus Mung’ou said on Thursday that everything possible had been done to rescue and counsel survivors of the tragedy.

“By 1.00 AM Wednesday night the operations were concluded after the rescue workers went through all the rubble and concluded after one body was recovered during the night,” he said. “That brings the number of people who lost their lives there to 16.”

Nine people were however yet to be accounted for. Cell phone numbers of seven of those reported as missing have been supplied to KRCS personnel, to help trace them.

Mr Mung’ou said that the KRCS is making every effort to trace nine people whose names were submitted by relatives as missing after the collapse of the building in Kiambu.

Four people who sustained injuries are still admitted to various hospitals; three of them at Kiambu District Hospital and one at Kenyatta National Hospital.

By Wednesday relatives had positively identified 11 bodies of those who perished in the tragedy.

Mr Mung’ou had earlier told Capital News that the number of the missing persons had drastically reduced “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.

He said the owner is required to, among other things, produce a structural plan for his building. The five-storey building went down on Monday afternoon while under construction. Most of those trapped were casual labourers 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, three days after the building collapsed.


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