Heavy rain, flooding cause deadly building collapse in Kenya
Sunday, May 1, 2016, 4:46 PM - Heavy rain and flooding in the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi are being blamed for a building collapse that has killed at least 20 people.
Rescuers continued to sift through rubble on Sunday for the 73 people who remain missing. BBC News reports 134 people - including several children - have been pulled from the rubble since the collapse on Friday night.
The Kenya Red Cross said they received reports that a 5-story residential building had collapsed around 9 p.m. local time on Friday night, following heavy rain. According to CTV News, it was later revealed that the ground and first floors had sunk due to the sodden ground and flooding, and the building actually had 6 stories.
Officials with the National Construction Authority had previously condemned the building, but it is unknown how structural conditions contributed to the collapse. Kenya Police spokesman Charles Owino told CNN he expected preliminary information soon. "We don't know how much the heavy rains could have caused the building to fall," he said. "There could be other technical reasons."
April and May mark the traditional rainy season in Kenya, but above-average rainfall in the eastern Africa country has responsible for widespread flooding and numerous deaths in the past month.
The 7-day running average of percent of normal precipitation for April 24 to 30 shows the above-average rainfall through the country, with many sites more than double their average rainfall for the week. Image courtesy Climate Prediction Center.
The Kenya Meteorological Department issued a statement on April 25 cautioning "moderate to severe" heavy rains and storm surges. The latest forecast calls for continuing rain, with heavy rainfall expected over the Highlands surrounding the Rift Valley region, the Southeast Lowlands, the Northeast, and the Coast.
Daily Nation reported Saturday that at least four people had been swept away in flash flood waters in other parts of the country, as well as more than 2,000 goats and 10 donkeys.
The latest Kenya Red Cross statement indicates up to 2,600 households nationwide have been displaced as a result of flash flooding.