The crowd around the collapsed building in Nairobi erupted into cheers when a one-and-a-half-year-old child was pulled out alive and unscathed four days after the building had gone down.
A team that was heaving out the debris discovered the starved child on the first floor, early on Tuesday morning. The child was seen wrapped in a blanket inside a bucket, unruffled, safe and sound.
Kenya Red Cross said via Twitter that the baby though looked dehydrated but she has no visible physical injuries. The girl was taken to the hospital where officials said she had run out of energy but was being stabilised.
The six-storey residential building collapsed due to the heavy rain, killing at least 23 people, injuring many. About 136 people have been rescued so far. Dozens of others are still believed to be buried or trapped under the debris, but hopes of finding more alive are growing faint.
Kenya Defence Forces and National Youth Service personnel have taken over the rescue operations from the National Disaster Manegement Unit and were yesterday hauling out the debris to save more people trapped in the rumbles.
More bodies were retrieved overnight and rescuers say they plan to clear all the rubble today. While the number of those still trapped inside the debris remains unknown, Kenya Red Cross Nairobi regional manager Michael Ayabei said 117 people were allegedly missing and only 21 had been located by yesterday. The whereabouts of the 96 are yet uncertain.
“Some people have showed up after their relatives reported them missing while others have been identified as those found dead in the building or survivors of the tragedy.”
Families of victims finding shelter at Huruma social hall wait curiously for updates on the rescue operations. They accused the NDMU of not getting them engaged. They said they depend solely on the media in getting update on the new casualty or survivors found before they determine if the found persons are their missing kins.
Residents accused government agencies involved in the rescue of delays and bulldozing and treating the community rescuers who had helped 50 survivors out of the building in three hours, dismissively.
The building collapsed late Friday. Reports say it had been earmarked for demolition. The two owners, who are said to be brothers, along with four other suspects including officials from the National Construction Authority, City Hall’s inspectorate department, and an engineer in charge of the site, will appear in court on Tuesday to face charges of manslaughter.
Samuel Karanja Kamau turned himself in on Monday. Officials say he was not authorized to construct or rent out the building’s 119 rooms.
Mr Kamau has not yet commented on the allegation.