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Seven Children Killed, Several Injured After School Building Collapses in Nairobi

Hundreds of angry residents of Dagoretti, a poor suburb where many live in makeshift homes, swarmed around the site where rescuers picked through the rubble.

AFP

Updated:September 23, 2019, 3:14 PM IST
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Seven Children Killed, Several Injured After School Building Collapses in Nairobi
Kenyan people gather at the site of a collapsed school classroom, in Nairobi, Kenya, (Reuters)

Nairobi: Seven children died and scores were injured early Monday when a school building collapsed in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, a government spokesman said, in an accident blamed on shoddy construction.

"So far we can confirm that we have seven fatalities and 57 others are in hospital," government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said at the scene.

Hundreds of angry residents of Dagoretti, a poor suburb where many live in makeshift homes, swarmed around the site where rescuers picked through the rubble.

"Seven pupils dead, several injured after a classroom collapsed at (the Precious) Talent Academy in Dagoretti," St John Ambulance, whose teams were deployed in search and rescue, wrote on Twitter.

An AFP reporter at the site said books and desks were strewn through the debris of the two-storey building, a semi-permanent structure made of concrete, iron sheeting and timber.

"I had just dropped my son to school, and heard screams on my way back, and that is when I found people assisting them out to hospital," said Margaret Muthoni at Kenyatta National Hospital, whose four-year-old son was injured.

"I am just lucky my son survived with injuries. It is a very unfortunate incident because some children have died," said Muthoni.

Kepha Otieno said he lost his five-year-old daughter to the tragedy.

"I just can't believe. It is too hard for me and the family," he said.

Evanson Kamuri, the chief executive of the Kenyatta National Hospital, told journalists that two of the injured children were in critical condition, while others had soft tissue injuries or light wounds and were being examined.

Dagoretti MP John Kiarie told KTN television that it appeared the first floor had collapsed on children on the ground floor -- however details were sketchy.

The school was a private institution. Kiarie said the area had no public land on which to construct a proper public school.

He said the disaster highlighted the lack of "regulation of educational institutions, especially those in informal settlements... regulations that pertain to the construction and stability of educational institutions."

"It is the highest level of irresponsibility and greed when you look at this structure that came down, and even the ones standing. It is another disaster waiting to happen," said Shadrack Okelo, a local resident.

"We demand action. The school management should answer questions from police custody." Moses Nyakiongora, an official with the National Building Inspectorate said at the scene: "This school was not properly constructed. It is totally substandard." Kenya's schools have suffered several tragedies in recent years, such as a mysterious series of arson attacks targeting boarding schools that often go unsolved.

In 2017 nine teenage girls were killed in such an attack.

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