At least five people have died, and scores were injured after a six-storey building collapsed Monday (September 26) in Kiambu, central Kenya.
If several were extracted from the rubble alive during the afternoon, many were feared to still be trapped at this scene.
According to local media reports, the building collapsed on an adjacent building trapping resident under the debris.
The Kiambu County Fire & Disaster Management Department, the Kenyan Police and Defence Forces, as well as the Kenyan Red Cross and volunteers joined forces for the rescue operation.
It is not immediately clear what caused the building to collapse.
Rescue efforts are underway and emergency workers have managed to pull a child from the rubble.
Several others have also been rescued but “sadly, some are feared to have succumbed to their injuries”, Kiambu county Governor Kimani Wamatangi said.
Similar accidents have taken place in Nairobi and elsewhere in Kenya. They were blamed on weak oversight, corruption and poor construction materials.
According to Kimani Wamatangi, the construction of the the multi-story building was illegal.
“The building that was being put up here is being done at an extremely substandard way”, the official said.
Adding: “I’ve also had confirmation from my CEC (County Executive Committee) in charge that this building was not authorised, that this guy built without authorisation, he came and applied for permission, and he was told to comply with a few conditions, he disappeared continued to build and it is only today that we have seen him.”
Eyewitnesses said it fell onto an adjacent building. It is not known how many people are still under the debris.
Soldiers, workers from the Kenya Red Cross and National Youth Service personnel as well as local volunteers are all at the scene.
Residents who suffered injuries were bussed to hospitals nearby. The governor visited some admitted at the Kiambu Level V Hospital.