At least 13 people dead, 69 unaccounted for and 135 rescued from the wreckage of a six-storey residential building that collapsed Friday night in Huruma's Ngei II flats, the Devolution ministry says.
Early Saturday evening, a man was rescued from the debris and rushed to a hospital just about when Gender and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and her colleague Dan Kazungu arrived at the site to give moral support to the response team.
The rescued man told the response team that there are several other people alive who were beside him in the collapsed building.
For the displaced people, humanitarian assistance was being offered at Daima Primary School.
However, rescuers who included Kenya Red Cross, Kenya Defence Forces, St John Ambulance, Sonko Rescue Team and National Youth Service continued with the operations manually after bulldozers were hampered by the narrowness of the site.
“It is quite unfortunate that the area where the building collapsed is very narrow and we cannot use the heavy machinery,” a Kenya Red Cross official said.
Also, Kenya Red Cross said the rescue operations could take longer because efforts were being hampered by rain and a surge of residents who wanted to observe the activity.
Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke, who was among top officials who went to console the victims on Saturday morning, said the accident was ineluctable because the 198-roomed building was constructed on a wetland.
“The building was constructed on a riparian land and was not approved by the county government,” Mr Mueke observed.
He ordered all area residents, especially those in adjacent building on the riparian section, to evacuate with immediate effect. “The structural integrity of those buildings is not known and to save their lives and those of their families they need to evacuate,” he said.
The deputy governor further said over 70 per cent of all the buildings in Nairobi had not been approved by the county government.
President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered an audit of all the city buildings in January 2015 after a series of such tragedies.
“The team comprising the Ministry of Housing, the County Government of Nairobi and the National Construction Association is almost done with the audit and as soon as that is done we will mark all these buildings for demolition,” said Mr Mueke.
Police are searching for the owner of the building, a Mr Kamau.
The President and other top government officials visited the scene. Among them were Cabinet Secretaries Joseph Nkaissery (Internal Security) and Jacob Kaimenyi (Lands and Urban Development).
Others were Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett, Nairobi Women Representative Rachel Shebesh, Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, and TNA national Chairman Johnson Sakaja.
The building collapsed following heavy rains that pounded parts of Nairobi causing flooding.
As at Saturday afternoon, Red Cross announced that in Nairobi at least 10 people had died, 81 injured and 1,050 homes affected by the floods.