, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 6 – Residents of buildings earmarked for demolition in Huruma stayed put despite a 48-hour warning that the houses they were occupying would be brought down.
Some were literally caught pants down after a last minute attempt to derail the demolishing exercise failed. Tenants were however given time to remove their belongings.
“We thought it was a joke,” a resident was overheard saying.
Others started screaming in a desperate attempt to stop the excavators from demolishing their houses.
“Mwizi! mwizi! (thief! thief!),” a teary woman was heard screaming.
National Disaster Management Unit officers were overseeing the long demolition.
A notice in one of the buildings read: “Pursuant to the Physical Planning Act Cap 286 and the Nairobi City County by-laws, the developer/owner/occupier is hereby notified to vacate these premises having been evaluated and found dangerous and unsafe for human habitation within 48 hours from date of this notice.”
Such notices have been posted on the entrances of four other buildings set to be demolished in the area.
“Don’t people value life?” an officer wondered loudly.
The stringent measures come a few days a seven-storey building collapsed killing more than 40 people and left hundreds others injured.
Hundreds of armed police officers were deployed in the densely populated area to ensure the demolition exercise was successful.
The rescue operation at the collapsed building was set to be concluded on Saturday according to the Incident Commander Pius Masai.
“We are done with almost 80 percent of the operation,” he said.
On Thursday, four survivors were rescued, six days after the operation.
The death toll has risen to 43 while 70 people are still missing.
Some of the residents have called on the government to help them with financial support.
“How do we move on with life and yet we’re hustlers?” Peter Opondo, a father of three asked.
“We are stranded… Our property has been destroyed.”
“I know it’s for our benefit but the government needs to help us,” Royslene Odhiambo told Capital FM News.