This is not a good look for "Africa's Rising Star."
A six-story building in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, collapsed on Friday, killing at least two people and trapping an unknown number - possibly dozens - of others in the pancaked debris.
Sadly, building collapses are relatively common in Nairobi, where explosive population growth has incentivized developers to cut corners on regulation. But a six story building mostly rented by families (22 reportedly lived in the building) still ranks as a major preventable disaster.
According to Nairobi county police chief Philip Ndolo, at least 10 people have been rescued by neighbors digging through the rubble with their bare hands. Eight victims have been taken to a hospital, and more wounded are expected, according to Bloomberg.
"Tragedy has struck us again," public works official Gordon Kihalangwa said. "Some people have been trapped inside and we are doing our best to free them."
Whatever caused the collapse wasn't immediately clear. But as the morning dragged on, hundreds of people gathered to watch from nearby buildings as emergency responders took their first tepid steps into the rubble. Many feared disturbing what was left of the structure, for fear that it could collapse, even as heavy excavation equipment arrived at the site.
Every now and again, workers would find a body, or a survivor, and a gurney would be called in. Medical personnel set up a temporary station at a series of stalls nearby.
After a series of deadly building collapses killed more than 15 people in Nairobi in 2015, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered an audit of all the country’s buildings to see if they were up to code. During the audit, the National Construction Authority found that 58% of the buildings in Nairobi were unfit for habitation.
That doesn't bode well for a city that is supposedly gentrifying quickly.
In other news, the governor of Nairobi was arrested on Friday shortly after Kenya's chief prosecutor ordered that he be detained on charges of economic crimes. Nairobi Gov. Mike Sonko is just the latest official to be hauled in on corruption charges in a country where graft and corruption is still rampant.
@EACCKenya confirms that Nairobi City County Governor Mike Sonko Mbuvi has been arrested while escaping arrest at a road block in Voi and is being transferred to Nairobi to face charges of corruption and economic crime.— EACC (@EACCKenya) December 6, 2019
And the corruption crackdown continues...