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Two perish in yet another Nairobi building collapse

Bernard Gitau and Kinyuru Munuhe @PeopleDailyKe

Two workers yesterday died while six others were seriously injured when a building they were demolishing collapsed on them at Stage Mpya in Embakasi South constituency.

According to Embakasi OCS James Ekwenye, the injured were rushed to Mama Lucy Hospital where one is in critical condition. Rescue operations were led by officers from Kenya Defence Forces Disaster Response Unit (DRU) from Embakasi barracks in collaboration with police, Nairobi county government and National Disaster Management Unit.

“Two people working in the collapsed building died on the spot and several others were injured and taken to Mama Lucy Hospital,” Ekwenye said, adding that so far, there is no sign of more people under the debris nor reports of missing persons.

Nairobi county Lands executive Peter Wachira said the semi-permanent structure did not have building approvals. “We have launched investigations into the collapse and those found culpable will face the law,” he said. He, at the same time, said the county government last month extended by six months the grace period for building owners to regularise building plans as provided for in the Nairobi County Regularisation of Developments Act of 2015.

According to Pipeline estate elder Hassan Njeru, the building was among many which do not follow county and National Construction Authority regulations.

“Construction of building in the area is not up to standard but nothing is being done to prevent disasters from striking especially during rainy seasons,” he said adding that the ill-fated workers did not have protective gear.

Cases of fatal building collapses are not new in the country in what has largely been attributed to poor architectural plans and poor workmanship. Early last year, the National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU) vacated families living in a four-storey condemned building after it developed cracks in Nairobi’s Huruma estate.

A report by a task force and a team of investigators formed to undertake forensic investigations into at least 200 buildings whose construction approvals are questionable has recommended demolition of at least 10 houses. 400 buildings in out of the audited 3, 914 buildings in Huruma alone have failed the structural test and thus should be demolished.

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