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Survivor of collapsed building regrets leaving children behind

May 2nd, 2016 2 min read

When Eric Owino arrived home on Friday, he saw people milling around his residence. The block his flat was part of was cracking and on taking a closer look, he realised the situation was getting worse.

He hastily climbed the stairs and got to his second floor flat.

“I found my wife and children having dinner. The younger one was in my wife’s hands and he was already falling asleep, but when he heard my voice, he woke up and wanted me to carry him,” said Mr Owino.

He said he told his wife that they needed to vacate the building immediately.

“My wife handed the baby to her sister, who has been living with us for a while, and then she helped me move the bags.

“As I was taking down the bags, my two-year-old son Desmond Omondi asked me to go with him but I told him that I would come back for him,” he said, adding that he regrets not heeding his cries.

Mr Owino and his wife took the bags to the ground floor and decided to go back for the children, but while on the first floor, the building they had occupied for three months came crumbling down.

“We were on the stairs. It was as if the building was sliding down. I decided to jump from a window in one of the corridors. A few seconds later, I saw neighbours pulling out people from the building. People were crying. I was not sure what to do. The building that stood tall just a few minutes ago was all down,” he said.

When Mr Owino finally rose from the ground, all he wanted was to get the children out.

“I blamed myself for not taking them with the bags, but then I never thought the building would collapse that fast,” he said.

Mr Owino’s wife was four hours later rescued from the rubble and taken to hospital. She sustained several fractures on her left leg.

Desmond’s body was retrieved on Saturday morning but the couple’s four-year-old daughter Blessings Anyango and her aunt Caroline Auma are yet to be found.

Mr Owino’s family is one of those that have, for the past three days, been desperately waiting for rescuers to find their loved ones.

The building, located in Ngei, Huruma, Nairobi, collapsed on Friday night during the rains that pounded the city.

Ms Emily Ngare said she is sure that her two children are still trapped in the rubble