The collapse of a primary school containing 800 children in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi yesterday morning killed seven pupils and injured at least 64 others. The victims were taken to the Kenyatta National Hospital, where they were treated for injuries mainly to the head and ribs.
The two-storey Precious Talents Top School collapsed at 6.50am in the poor suburb of Dagoretti, where many live in makeshift homes. The cause of the collapse is under investigation, but the structure was reported to have a lower storey made from iron sheets and wood beams whereas the upper storey had a concrete floor.
Some parents claimed it took almost an hour before the emergency team arrived at the scene and that much of the initial rescue effort was carried out by the residents.
The Daily Nation newspaper reported that parents and school neighbours had raised concerns over the building’s safety, citing poor engineering and workmanship.
It quoted Meshack Nyabuto, an administrator at the local chief’s office, who said that some of the pupils had complained about the shaking structure.
Moses Nyakiongora, secretary of the National Buildings Inspectorate, said his organisation was not aware of the existence of the building, and that Nairobi County has many such structures. He added that the building wasÂ "a work of quackery".
The UPI agency quoted Moses Wainaina, the proprietor of the privately owned school, who said he suspected the incident was connected to construction on a nearby sewer pipe.
In the past, Kenyan authorities have warned that between 30,000 and 40,000 buildings erected without approval in Nairobi are at risk of collapse.
Image: The aftermath of the collapse (Kenya Red Cross via Twitter)