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Kiambu building death toll hits 6

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 20 – Six people have been confirmed dead after a five-storey building under construction collapsed in Kiambu town on Tuesday afternoon.

Seven survivors are recuperating at the Kiambu District Hospital while one person was admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital.

“Six people have so far been confirmed dead after three more bodies were retrieved this afternoon. 17 persons are missing so far but this number is not conclusive because others seem to have been recorded twice,” Kenya Red Cross communications manager, Titus Mung’ou said.

Three bodies were recovered on Monday evening.

Combined rescue efforts by the Kenya Red Cross, Chinese rescue experts, the military,  General Service Unit personnel and the County Council of Kiambu was boosted early Tuesday afternoon after the arrival of equipment to sift through piles of rubble

“Rescue operations were halted late yesterday after a heavy downpour, while rescuers were waiting for equipment which has since arrived to cut through the grill and heavy slabs to reach the trapped persons,” Mr Mung’ou said.

However, the National Disaster Management Committee gave a different number claiming that only two people could not be accounted for.

They said the estimated number of people in the building at the time of collapse was 20 and already 18 had been found.

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Reports had indicated on Monday that there were 50 people in the building when the building caved in.

Mr Mung’ou said their records had been accrued from reports compiled by the organisation on those reported missing.

Those trapped were still using mobile phones to contact relatives by Tuesday morning according to Mr Mung’ou who said they still hoped to find more survivors despite the challenge of inadequate equipment and bad weather.

“It is sad that at this point Kenya is still not prepared to deal with disasters such as collapse of buildings,” Mr Mung’ou said.

Central Province Police boss John Mbijiwe said preliminary investigations indicated that the building caved in due to structural issues.

“Investigations are on course and we are planning to arrest the contractor and the owner for further questioning,” he said.

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