NAIROBI (REUTERS) - Rescue workers raced on Saturday (April 30) to save more residents from the rubble of a six-storey building in Nairobi - including a mother and baby whose cries could be heard - after it collapsed overnight following heavy rain. Ten people were confirmed dead.
President Uhuru Kenyatta visited the site of Friday night's disaster and ordered the arrest of the owners.
"We are still hearing some voices from the collapsed building," Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre director Nathan Kigotho told reporters at the scene. "We don't have the exact number of people buried in the rubble."
Ten bodies had been recovered from the building so far and a mother and baby could be heard beneath the rubble, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Nkaissery told reporters.
Heavier than usual rains have led to building collapses in the past in poor neighbourhoods of the Kenyan capital, which residents have blamed on shoddy or illegal construction.
The building in Nairobi's poor suburb of Huruma in eastern Nairobi had 198 rooms, Colonel Kigotho said. Some residents escaped before the collapse and at least 133 people had been rescued.
The president told officials "to undertake an immediate survey of all the houses in the area to find out those which are at risk of collapsing", his office said in a statement.
Col Kigotho said two of the seven people known to have been killed were adults and the five others were children. "The biggest cause of this was that the building was next to the river. The water most likely undermined the foundation," he said.
Police said more than 120 people had been taken to hospital.
Residents cheered overnight as one casualty was hauled alive from the broken masonry, others clapped on Saturday morning as the president walked through a muddy street at the scene.
Lower floors of the building crumpled, leaving some of the top storey almost intact. Broken bed frames, mattresses and clothes protruded from the wreckage.
"It is raining, and these houses were built without Nairobi County authorisation," Mr Jonathan Mueke, deputy governor of Nairobi County, told privately-owned QTV station. "I am asking residents in the area to leave. In the area where this one collapsed there are 189 houses."