, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – It was around 3am on Wednesday when 24 year-old Kenneth Rubia was woken up by screams of his neighbours.
From their single room on the second floor of the four storey-building in Makongeni area in Nairobi, Rubia instructed his 29 year-old sister Jackline to open the door to see what was happening to their neighbours.
“We were asleep. I heard people shouting from outside. So I told my sister, open the door we see what is going on,” he recalled.
It was at that moment when the entire third floor crashed on Rubia and his sister.
He said it was also the last time he saw his sister or heard from her but was still searching for her on Wednesday.
“When she went to open the door, the floor collapsed on us. Since that time I have not heard from her. I don’t know where she is. But I hear there is someone who died in the morning. I fear she could be that person,” he explained.
One of the victims died while being taken to the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) for treatment.
The body was later taken to the city mortuary.
According to KNH Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager Kibet Mengitch, the body had not yet been identified.
Happy and lucky to be alive, Rubia recalls he was among the first of survivors to be rescued at 4am and rushed to KNH for treatment of bruises on his legs.
As late as on Tuesday evening, tenants of the four-storey building had expressed fears that deep cracks on one of the slabs would cause the building to collapse.
“One slab had cracks… the one they had built recently. Tenants were even to vacate the building at the end of this month. In fact yesterday evening there is a neighbour who had said we will have to move because this building will collapse and the house collapsed shortly after,” he recalled.
Rubia like two other survivors were concerned about the manner in which the building was constructed.
He said the owner was in a rush to complete the construction and even after renting it out, further construction to add more floors were ongoing.
“He was in a hurry to complete the construction. During the construction, there was no allowance to let the newly build parts to dry. The building still had poles that support slabs, they were still constructing more floors on top,” he explained.
Rubia who has been living in the building for about one year said the building had about eight single rooms on every floor and the occupants were mainly college and university students who paid Sh5,000 monthly rent.
Six other survivors were discharged while others like Rubia were asked to stay on for further tests and treatment.