Three die in Huruma’s condemned flat tragedy

Officials say the structure had been earmarked for demolition but some tenants ignored notice to vacate

Three bodies had been recovered by last eveing and and three others rescued with injuries by last evening following the collapse of a five-storey building in Nairobi’s Huruma estate Saturday night.

Deputy Director National Disaster and Management Unit (NDMU) Pius Masai said the building had been earmarked for demolition but some tenants ignored the notice to vacate.

“Three people died—two men and a woman—while three have been rescued and are being treated for multiple injuries,” he said.

Due to illegal construction on the pathways, a private primary school and two adjacent buildings were partially demolished to ease movement and rescue mission.

National Building Inspectorate (NBI) secretary Moses Nyakiongora told People Daily Huruma and its environs is an “epicentre of unsafe buildings”.

Following regulations

“We have demolished 12 buildings in Huruma this year because it is the most notorious area where houses are built without following regulations,” he said.

He said the demolition of unsafe buildings in Nairobi had stopped temporarily due to logistical issues that have been since resolved and the exercise would continue.

“We have been doing scientific test on buildings in Huruma and shockingly, out of 60, 40 will be demolished. In Nairobi, a total of 40 buildings have been brought down this year,” he said

 He added that due to housing high demand, unscrupulous developers often bypass building regulations.

In 2015, eight buildings collapsed killing 15 people prompting President Uhuru Kenyatta to order an audit of all  buildings to ascertain if they were up to standard. The National Construction Authority found 58 percent of buildings in Nairobi were unfit for habitation.

In 2016, a building collapsed in Huruma killing 37 and injuring 70. The rescue work took days, and a baby and a pregnant woman were among those pulled to safety.

Nairobi Lands and Planning County Executive member Charles Kerich accused developers of ignoring building regulations and warned of dire consequences. Kerich said Huruma is a hot spot for unsafe buildings adding that more will be flattened in coming days to avert more deaths.

“Developers are erasing National Construction Authority (NCA) marks that show the building has not met the standards hence duping members of the public,” he said and called for punitive action against such people.

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