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Tanzania building collapses, one dead, others trapped

Written by: Staff
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DAR ES SALAAM, Mar 17 (Reuters) A four-storey building collapsed on the outskirts of Tanzania's commercial capital on Friday, killing at least one person and trapping others, witnesses and rescue workers said.

The half-built block in Dar es Salaam -- containing a hotel, offices and a bar -- crumbled to its first floor in the latest of a string of such accidents round the region raising concern about shoddy construction work and safety standards in Africa.

A construction worker who jumped off the building as it fell said 10 people were caught behind in the bar.

''I jumped as the building was falling behind me. The dust blocked my eyes. I was confused and crawled away when I landed,'' Victor Sahota, 30, told Reuters.

''There at the back, there were more than 10 people.'' Earlier this month, a church in neighbouring Uganda collapsed killing 26 worshippers and injuring another 100.

In February, a six-storey building collapsed in Nairobi, Kenya, killing 14 people and injuring more than 100.

In both cases, authorities blamed builders.

Poor construction work is common around east Africa where bribes are often paid to obtain building permission and get inspection certificates, or work is carried out illegally.

In chaotic scenes after dark in Dar Es Salaam, rescuers using mallets and an earth-moving machine hunted for people believed trapped underneath as police held back a large crowd.

A firefighter, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that one person had been carried out dead, and at least one person had been heard speaking from under the rubble.

Authorities, however, could not give any numbers.

It was unclear what had sparked the collapse.

REUTERS SHR RAI0030

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