Death toll rises to 20 in Tanzania's building collapse accident

Death toll rises to 20 in Tanzania
# 30 March 2013 19:21 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The number of people killed after a 16-storey building collapsed in Dar es Salaam has risen to 20, police confirmed on Saturday, APA reports.

The Dar es Salaam special zone commander Suleiman Kova said 17 bodies were recovered from the rubble of the fateful building between Friday night and Saturday afternoon as rescue work to search for survivals continued.

The building, which was under construction, situated at the junction of Indira Gandhi Street and Morogoro Road in the central business district of Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, collapsed at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.

Kova said more bodies were likely to be pulled out of the debris as rescuers from various institutions, including the Tanzania People's Defense Forces, police and the Tanzania Red Cross Society, are working round the clock.

He said the victims included constructors of the building, beggars who used to stay near the building, and children who were playing and passers-by.

Local TV station reported that many young children attending a Muslim school near the building were still unaccounted for.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete visited the scene of the accident for the second time since Friday and ordered police to hunt down owners and contractors of the building and prosecute them.

Shortly after Kikwete's visit, Kova announced that four people, including the owner of the construction company and a consultant engineer, surrendered themselves to police.

Local TV stations reported on Friday that more than 60 people were trapped under the wreckage of the building and 17 injured people have been rushed to hospital for treatment.

Reports said on Saturday that seven out of the injured people have been discharged and the remaining 10 people were still being treated at the country's leading referral facility -- the Muhimbili National Hospital.

Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Sadick Mecky Sadick thanked Good Samaritans who joined rescue teams to save people who were trapped under the rubble.

Sadick ordered the construction of another building just opposite the collapsed one to stop because it was under the same contractor called Lucky Construction Limited.

Ilala deputy mayor Heri Kessy hinted on Friday that the contractor was given a permit for construction of a 10-storey building but went to construct a 16-storey structure.

"The contractor was given a green light in 2007 and he had met all the required criteria. So, if he went contrary to signed agreement, steps should be taken accordingly by responsible authorities," said Kessy.

Three high-rise buildings have collapsed in Dar es Salaam in the last seven years, including a hotel and a 10-storey structure under construction, killing a number of people and injuring others.