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Baby found alive in rubble three days after Kenya building collapse

Police said there have been 23 confirmed deaths so far.
Rescue workers search for residents in the rubble of a six-story building that collapReuters

Rescue workerspulleda six-month-oldbabygirloutof the rubble of abuildinginKenya's capital on Tuesday and reunited her with her father, more thanthreedaysafter itcollapsed followingdaysof heavy rain.

At least 23 people have so far been confirmed dead after the six-storey residential block in Nairobi's poor Huruma district crumbled on Friday night. Police are questioning the owners after President UhuruKenyatta ordered them detained.

"The child, who had been buried for about80 hours, was found in a bucket wrapped in a blanket. She appeared dehydrated, and with no visible physical injuries," theKenyaRed Cross said in a statement.

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Thebaby, named as Dealeryn Saisi Wasike, was identified by her father after she was taken to hospital for treatment, the Red Cross said. A Red Cross official said the fate of her mother was still not clear.

Thecollapseof thebuildingwas the latest such disaster in a fast expanding African city that is struggling to build homes fast enough.

Like many other cities in Africa, the population of Nairobi has climbed dramatically in recent years. TheKenyan capital had almost 3.5 million people in 2011, abouta third bigger than a decade earlier, according to U.N. figures.

Governments have struggled to provide basic infrastructure and bureaucratic processes to ensure planning rules are met.

ManyKenyans who come to the city in search of work end up in one of several slums, such as Kibera, made up of makeshift homes of wood and corrugated iron sheets.

Others live in slightly better off but still poor districts, like Huruma, where concretebuildings have risen rapidly amid potholed roads and ropey power supplies. Heavy rains have caused othercollapses in Nairobi but withoutsuch high death tolls.

The Interior Ministry said the Hurumabuildinghad been earmarked for demolition as it was built close to a river, but the order had not been carriedoutby local officials. It urged developers to adhere to safety standards.

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After visiting the site on Saturday,Kenya's president ordered otherbuildings to be surveyed to ensure they were safe.

Rescue workers had said on Monday that the chances of finding more survivors was unlikely.

Nairobi County police commander Japheth Koome told Reuters the death toll stood at 23 while 136 people had been saved from the wreckage. He said the number of deaths could rise as the search continued.

Dozens of other people are still listed as missing, Red Cross spokeswoman Arnolda Shiundu said, adding it was not clear how many of those had escaped but had not yet been traced.

Similar disasters have afflicted other African conurbations. In 2014, a church in Lagos, one of Africa's biggest cities,collapsed killing 115 people. A Nigerian coroner last year blamed poor construction.

Poor and illegal construction has also often been blamed for the crumbling of apartment blocks in Egypt, where almost all Egyptians are crammed into the crowded Nile Valley andbuildings are often extended with extra floors piled on top.

 

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