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Demolition of unsafe buildings starts in Huruma

Demolition of unsafe residential houses has started near the building that collapsed in Huruma a week ago, killing more than 40 people.

Bulldozers and other heavy machinery started bringing down buildings adjacent the ill-fated one as police controlled crowds.

Residents who had not heeded a notice by the Ministry of Public Works on Wednesday to vacate the condemned buildings did so in haste.

PS Paul Mwangi said on Tuesday that 70 buildings would be demolished in Huruma.

Eight houses and several shanties on the banks of River Mathare were the first to be flattened.

More than 226 houses in Nairobi’s Roysambu, Hazina, Zimmerman, Kahawa West, Umoja and Dagoretti have been marked for demolition.


These include those that are too close to water bodies, those with more floors than the owners indicated on their plans and those built with poor quality materials.

Mr Mwangi said houses which do not meet construction authority requirements will not be spared.

He said 15 other houses had been earmarked for demolition on Monday, among them two in Mathare and a five-storey building in Hamza.

“We have issued notices to tenants to leave and we will demolish them whether they move out or not,” he said.

Earlier, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said there have been plans to demolish some buildings in the past but the owners quickly acquired restraining orders from the courts.

He admitted that rampant corruption in the county government had enabled developers to build sub-standard houses.

Dr Kidero also accused officers responsible for ensuring safety of houses of taking bribes and turning a blind eye to substandard work.


On Friday, residents of the condemned houses said they were not given adequate time to search for alternative accommodation.

“I have been looking for a house since the disaster. I did not even wait for a notice from the city council to vacate because I realised the dangers of living here. But I have not yet found a house and I have three children. Where will I go with them in this weather? Who will accommodate four people and their property?” lamented Ms Emily Nduku.

“The authorities knew about these houses and that they were unsafe. Why are they only realising now that they must be demolished?” she said.

Meanwhile, rescue operations continue at the collapsed building on Friday as the death toll rose to 42.

The Kenya Defence Forces, who are conducting the operation, said most of the rubble would be cleared by Saturday.

National Disaster Management Unit Incident Commander Pius Masai said 80 per cent of the debris from the collapsed building had now been removed.