Nairobi, Jan 5: At least two people were killed and several others were injured today when a six-storey residential building collapsed in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, officials said.
Hospital officials said today they had treated 28 survivors pulled out of the rubble of the building, situated in Nairobi's Haruma neighbourhood, but it remained unclear if others were still trapped. Kenya's Red Cross said two people had died and 38 had been injured, with search and rescue operations continuing this morning.
The building collapsed at around 7:00 pm local time, sparking a major rescue operation involving scores of police, city officials and medical workers, an AFP photographer at the scene said.
Speaking to Capital FM radio, Nairobi county official Tom Odongo said the six floors of the building were all occupied and a seventh was under construction.
He also said the upper floors were built in quick succession, putting pressure on the lower floors, and added that the construction had not been permitted by local authorities.
"The fault lies with the developer, not the county government, because responsibility starts with the individual," Odongo insisted.
Large numbers of people flocked to the scene, some helping to dig away the rubble with their bare hands, although crowds were pushed away by police as heavy lifting machinery and official rescue teams were brought in.
"I'd gone out to watch the Arsenal (football) game when the building collapsed," said Eric Ochieng, a resident of the building. "I rushed back for my wife and son, and I also pulled out two people and a child in the process."
Kenya's KTN news channel said 20 ambulances had been put on stand-by in the area. The collapsed building borders a primary school on one side and a maze of similar, densely populated houses on the other.