Rain-triggered rockslide flattens Nairobi slum, killing 7April 5th, 2012 - 12:09 am ICT by BNO News
NAIROBI, KENYA (BNO NEWS) — At least seven people were killed on early Wednesday morning when heavy rainfall caused a rockslide in a slum in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, destroying dozens of houses, rescue workers said.
The incident occurred just before 7 a.m. local time when strong overnight rainfall caused several rocks to roll down a hill in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s oldest slums and home to an estimated 500,000 people. The rocks damaged or destroyed more than 50 houses, many of which are made of light material.
A spokesperson for the Kenya Red Cross Society said the rescue operation began soon after the rockslide, but the efforts were hampered by the severe weather and lack of equipment. “The rescue efforts have been hampered by heavy rains, lack of access and appropriate machinery and crowds of people who are slowing down the whole process,” the spokesperson said.
Heavy bulldozers arrived at Mathare more than four hours after the rockslide, but it took several more hours before the bulldozers were able to reach the actual scene. “At the moment rescuers are using hoes and axes in the rescue efforts,” the Red Cross spokesperson said before the bulldozers were able to start working.
As of early Wednesday evening, rescue workers said seven bodies have been recovered and no one else is believed to be missing. Eight survivors were taken to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi with unknown injuries, and their conditions were not immediately clear. Some media reports said one of the survivors died on the way to the hospital, which would raise the number of fatalities to eight.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga visited the scene on Wednesday afternoon and announced that the military was on their way with better equipment and machinery, while Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Njoroge Ndirangu said local residents living in disaster prone areas across the city will be forcefully moved to prevent similar incidents.
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