Death toll in Huruma tragedy hits 21

The death toll from the Huruma Estate building collapse has now reached 21, after four more bodies were recovered from the tragedy site Sunday night.

Over 60 hours after the collapse of a seven story building in Huruma estate, Nairobi, search and rescue missions are still underway with 60 people still missing while 135 others already rescued.

According to National Disaster Management Unit Acting Director Pius Maasai, who is also in charge of the site, the rescue operations continue to face accessibility issues that are hampering their search and rescue efforts.

Maasai however expressed optimism that those still feared trapped in the Huruma building rubble will be rescued alive.

Desperate relatives are still camping at a tracing center in the area hoping for any news on the fate their loved ones.

Meanwhile, the owner of the collapsed building is currently being held at Pangani Police Station after he surrendered himself to the police.

According to Starehe OCPD Alice Kimeli, Samuel Kamau handed himself over on Sunday evening.

Police say that they were also looking for the architect and engineers who worked on the structure during its construction.

His arrest comes a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery ordered his arrest.

President Uhuru had also ordered an audit of all the city buildings, in January last year, after a series of such tragedies.

According to the building inspectorate secretary in the Public Works Ministry, Moses Nyakiohoro, a total of 2,601 buildings have been inspected in a bid to clear the county of dangerous structures.

Speaking to Citizen Digital, Nyakiohoro revealed that in Huruma alone, 57 out of nearly 500 buildings already inspected don’t meet structural standards and face demolition if they fail further tests that are expected to be done soon.

Institute of Engineers of Kenya chair, Eng Michael Okonji, has also accused private developers of using shortcuts by hiring quacks during construction and ignoring licensed engineers.

Eng Okonji has however pledged to take action by revoking the license of any licensed engineer who is a member of the institute found culpable in the Huruma tragedy and any other.

The 198-room building in Huruma in eastern Nairobi collapsed on Friday night after heavy rain that continue to pound most parts of the country.