At least seven people have been killed and another 121 injured after a tower block in Nairobi, Kenya, collapsed during heavy rains. Locals and politicians are blaming poorly constructed buildings for the tragic loss of life.
A search and rescue team rescued three children and an adult from the rubble of the six-story building in the city's residential Huruma district last night, according to the Kenyan Red Cross. Local media has reported two more people were pulled alive from the wreckage in the early hours of Saturday morning. Rescue teams racing to the scene were delayed by weather conditions, according to Japheth Koome, the Kenyan capital's chief of police.
The country is currently experiencing a period of extreme weather, part of its usual April/May rainy season, and storms are turning the streets of Nairobi into rivers. At least 150 buildings and homes have been affected in some way, according to officials.
Locals are beginning to blame shoddy construction practices in new-build apartments for the disaster. The collapsed block was only completed five months ago, and with rents as low as $35 per month for a single room, it was quickly filled to capacity.
Stephen Kariuki, a local politician, told the Associated Press that this was the second tower block collapse in less than a year. He pointed the finger at local government's inactivity and failure to demolish buildings which had been deemed unfit for habitation.
There is a massive demand for housing in Kenya's capital, which is home to more than 3.1m people. Some developers have been accused of skirting construction codes in order to cut costs. The Architectural Society of Kenya estimates that as many as half the new structures in the city do not conform to
The Architectural Society of Kenya estimates that as many as half the new structures in the city do not conform to regulations. An audit ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year found that 58% of buildings in Nairobi were unsafe.