Three confirmed dead in Kasarani collapsed building

Thursday, November 17th, 2022 04:00 | By
Rescue team carry a body from the collapsed seven-storey building in Kasarani, Nairobi, yesterday. PD/William Oeri

At least three people, including a vendor, have been confirmed dead in the building that collapsed in Seasons area of Kasarani, Nairobi, on Tuesday.

Kenya Red Cross officials yesterday said that six others were rescued.

 The number of people trapped under the rubble is still unclear, but residents said around eight or nine people were near the building when it came down on Tuesday.

 Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja called for the arrest of the developer of the building. He said his office was liaising with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and police to have the developer arrested and prosecuted.

 Sakaja said the developer never got a permit from City Hall for the construction.

“The developer did not get a permit from the county. There was an enforcement notice but because of impunity, he decided to go on. He needs to be charged with murder,” he said.

He said the county government will ensure the developer is brought to book.

Sakaja, who toured the site yesterday, also said the construction site had been closed.  He accused the developer of using sub-standard building materials, lacking a building permit and ignoring an enforcement notice.

The governor gave a stern warning to unscrupulous developers who were putting up sub-standard buildings that their days were numbered.

“All those who are involved in such constructions I want to put them on notice. Pull down those buildings yourself or we are going to come for you,” he warned.

Sakaja recounted a similar incident in 2016 where a building went down in Huruma estate, claiming 47 lives were lost with the majority being children and children.

“Many people visited the site then including the former president who talked tough but nothing happened,” Sakaja said.

 “Now that we are in charge, we won’t talk much but you will see action.”

 The governor also said he has changed the existing Nairobi City County Urban Planning Technical Committee, responsible for approving buildings.

Poor workmanship

 “We have already changed the technical committee that approves buildings in Nairobi. If any officer will be found culpable at any point, they will go home and be charged,” Sakaja said.

According to a report by National Construction Authority (NCA), poor workmanship and ignorance of the laws are among the leading causes of such incidences.

 Research done by NCA in 2018, revealed that buildings collapsed due to technical issues such as substandard materials and lack of quality assurance.

 Other factors include ignorance of laws and regulations, inadequate laws, poor coordination, lack of proper material testing tools and poor construction supervision, among others  This could indicate that there is a lot of impunity and corruption in the sector.

 It could also explain why in scenes where buildings have collapsed, some officials go into hiding while some rush to the site and declare them unsafe.

 Past incidents even beyond Nairobi, have revealed that a majority of such efforts are rarely prosecuted successfully.

NCA report 2020, shows that 10,791 of the buildings in the country are unsafe and either need reinforcement before occupation or be demolished. This was after an assessment of 14,895 buildings.

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