A school collapsed in Kenya’s capital on Monday and killed at least seven children, officials said, while some outraged residents alleged shoddy construction. Two other children were in critical condition.
“We were in class reading and we heard pupils and teachers screaming, and the class started collapsing and then a stone hit me on the mouth,” one survivor, 10-year-old Tracy Oduor, told The Associated Press. “When we got out of the gate we heard that pupils were dead. I feel so sad!”
Parents wailed over the remains of The Precious Talent Top School in Nairobi, and hundreds of people gathered as emergency workers picked through debris. It was not clear whether anyone was trapped underneath.
Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna confirmed the deaths, and Kenyatta National Hospital later said 64 children had been admitted, most with minor injuries.
“The children here were all running away and crying,” resident Michael Otieno said. More than 800 students are enrolled at the school, officials said.
It was not immediately clear why the building of corrugated metal and wood collapsed around 7:30 a.m. Construction can be poorly regulated in some fast-growing Kenyan communities.
“You can easily break it with your own hands, as easy as that,” Peter Ouko, a resident, said of the building materials. “This is chicken wire, not a construction material, and someone had the guts to use this to build a construction for our kids. I think this is basically premeditated murder.”
Nathaniel Matalanga, a structural engineer with La Femme Engineering Services Ltd., told reporters that he didn’t think “any professionals” were involved in the school’s construction and he blamed “greed.”
There was no immediate comment from school officials.