NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – The number of people rescued from the collapsed building in Nairobi’s Makongeni estate has risen to nine after one more person was pulled out the debris on Wednesday afternoon.
The number of those missing stood at 15 even as rescue efforts intensified despite its delicate nature.
The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) set up a support centre so that those with missing relatives can file reports.
“The doctors are also there to give them the necessary vital support to keep them going. The rescue teams and medics are continuously communicating with those still buried under the rubble,” an official from the KRCS stated.
Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke led officials in monitoring the rescue effort that was undertaken by personnel from the Nairobi County Fire Brigade, Kenya Red Cross and the National Youth Service.
City Hall’s Housing and planning executive Tom Odongo indicated that mechanisms had been put in place to ensure the rescue operation was not hampered by darkness.
“We have to balance time and the need to make sure that we rescue people and get them out alive,” he said.
Specialised equipment was brought to the scene to sift through the debris as a result of the loose rubble and unstable nature of the building.
“Care is being taken so as not to injure those trapped. The Kenya Red cross is in constant communication with them and even giving them sustenance,” Nairobi Deputy Police Boss Moses Ombati stated.
A senior researcher at the National Construction Authority David Njuguna pointed out that thorough investigations are going to be conducted to establish the cause of the tragedy.
“If the investigations reveal that the developer is at fault, there are fines and other prosecutions that can take place. If it is the contractor who was at fault, there are sanctions under the National Construction Authority Act. If it is the fault of the consultant, then it is the board responsible for consultants which will take immediate action on the situation,” he said.
One person died as they were being taken to hospital for treatment following the mishap.
There was an initial challenge of lack of excavation equipment, but they were later acquired from the military and the National Youth Service.
Statements from some of the victims rescued from the scene indicated that the building had started developing cracks several days before it collapsed.