Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Hopes fade after Kenya collapse.

Scene of the collapse

Hopes of finding more survivors from Monday's building collapse in Kenya are fading after a second night's search. Shoddy construction and local council corruption are being blamed for the disaster at an unfinished five-storey building in central Nairobi. At least 13 people are known to be dead with more casualties expected. Some 100 people have been taken to hospital. Rescuers say they have lost contact with people who on Tuesday were calling or tapping from under the rubble.
Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said rescuers were no longer "hearing any noise at all or any form of life at all" from the ruins of the building, but added he would not give up hope. Kenyan, American, British and Israeli rescue teams are continuing their search for any remaining survivors who might be trapped in air pockets under the rubble. Early on Wednesday, Israeli rescuers recovered three more bodies from the ruins of the building. About 200 people are believed to have been in or around the building when it collapsed.
Mr Mutua suggested the collapse was the result of over-hasty construction. "They were not being allowed to spend the normal 21 days to let the concrete set. It was taking much less before they were building another layer," he told the Associated Press news agency. But Elias Kihonge, brother of building owner Jimmy Kihonge, insisted: "Work was not rushed. We do not know why it collapsed." Opposition leader Uhuru Kenyatta blamed the collapse on "poor supervision and corruption in the city council, for allowing development of buildings of poor standards," the Daily Nation reports.
The Daily Nation also reported that the Nairobi City Council had approved plans for the building before they had been properly tabled, and that four senior council officials had been suspended from their posts in connection with the disaster.


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