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27 confirmed dead in Nakumatt fire

Sunday February 1 2009

Staff of Nakumatt Nyanza hold prayers at the

Staff of Nakumatt Nyanza hold prayers at the Mega Plaza building in Kisumu on Sunday. Photos/DAN OBIERO 

By NATION Team

One more body was on Sunday morning recovered from debris at the former Nakumatt Downtown supermarket bringing the total of those confirmed to have died in the inferno to 27 people.

Two more bodies were recovered on Saturday afternoon from the rubble.

Relatives have so far identified 11 of the charred remains but the identification process is continuing according to a police source.

Reported missing

Twenty-five of the 52 people reported missing have still not been traced by their families but Kenya Red Cross officials say they may not necessarily have been at the Nakumatt Downtown premises.

Five others who had been reported missing have since been traced by their relatives.

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The latest to be identified is a High Court retiree Ms Evelyne Mukolwe.

Relatives identified her handbag that contained a national identity card and her mobile phone.

The recovery of process and the clearing of debris from the burnt down building was expected to end by Sunday evening.

Most of the debris had by yesterday afternoon been removed from the ground floor including part of the roof that collapsed.

Meanwhile, Nakumatt staff held requiem masses for their employees and customers who died.

Led by their operations director Thiagarajan Ramamurthy and other senior managers, the employees converged at the Mega Supermarket along Uhuru Highway while others conducted prayers at other branches in the city.

At the same time, relatives were yesterday allowed to view the remains at the City mortuary.

As the rescue operations entered the fifth day yesterday those who lost their relatives milled around the building anxiously waiting for any updates.