Africa

‘Miracle’ as infant was pulled from rubble in Nairobi

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Nigeria

Image:Dispatch.com

‘Miracle’ as infant was pulled from rubble in Nairobi

Last Friday, a six-story block of apartments  collapsed in the city of Nairobi, Kenya. The building is believed to have been weakened by the heavy rain that had fallen in the weeks before. According to Reuters, the building had already been scheduled for demolition when it collapsed and the owners have been detained for questioning.

So far, the death toll in the disaster stands at 23, though authorities expect the number to rise. Many believed that after six days, the chance of anyone else being pulled from the wreckage was very slim. Then, a miracle. Workers digging through the rubble unearthed a bucket containing a six-month-old girl who has been identified by her father at a Red Cross Hospital as Dealeryn Saisi Wasike, whose mother perished in the collapse. The discovery of the child is the one bright spot in the tragedy that has befallen the city.

The population of Nairobi, like many cities in Africa, has risen dramatically over the past few years. As a result, the governments of many African nations have been struggling to keep up with the infrastructure demands of growing populations. In Nairobi, as in other cities, the pull of available work has inspired people from surrounding areas to come from rural villages to seek work. Once there, many find themselves living in slums of corrugated steel houses or poorer areas like Huruma, where the collapse occurred, where hundreds of poorly constructed concrete tenements have been constructed.

The lack of oversight for the construction as well as the climate in the area has made many of these buildings susceptible to collapse. In 2014, a church building in the nearby city of Lagos collapsed, killing 115 people.

Many Nigerians are calling on the government to take a more active role in protecting the people of the country from slapdash construction companies that cut corners in order to save money. And as the population of these urban areas continues to rise, this will become an ever more pressing need in order to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Wyatt is a writer and your friend. You can follow him on Twitter @WyattRedd.