NAIROBI, Kenya — An eight-story building has collapsed in a low-income area of Nairobi and 10 people are missing, witnesses and officials in Kenya said Tuesday. The collapse occurred late Monday night, Nairobi Police Chief Japheth Koome said.
Police fired tear gas after residents angered by the slow deployment of government rescuers hurled stones slowing search and rescue efforts, said a resident, Hailey Akinyi. Akinyi, who lives in an adjacent building, witnessed the collapse and said three people had been rescued from the debris. The collapsed building and the building she lives in had been marked with an “X,” meaning they had been condemned by the National Construction Authority, she said.
Most of Nairobi’s 4 million people live in low-income areas or slums. Housing is in high demand and unscrupulous developers often bypass regulations. Building collapses have become common. After eight buildings collapsed and killed 15 people in Kenya in 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered an audit of all the country’s buildings to see if they are up to code. The National Construction Authority found that 58 percent of buildings in Nairobi are unfit for habitation.
Last year a building collapse in another low income area killed 37 people and injured 70. The rescue mission took days during which a six-month-old baby and a pregnant woman were among those pulled safely out of the rubble. After that collapse the government ordered all condemned building demolished and residents evacuated but the operation was never completed after media attention waned.
Last month eight people died when a wall collapsed on them in the coastal city of Mombasa following heavy rains.