By Humphrey Malalo and Ben Makori
NAIROBI – Rescue workers on Thursday freed a woman who survived under the rubble of a building in Kenya’s capital for six days after it collapsed.
Doctors had given her oxygen and fed her by intravenous drip after she was found in a cavity in the debris, as rescue workers struggled to free her with power tools and their bare hands.
Reuters witnesses saw her carried to an ambulance, to the cheers and applause of a crowd at the scene in Nairobi’s poor Huruma district.
While the rescue effort was going on, the official leading the operation, Pius Masai, said the woman did not appear to have suffered major injuries.
The death toll from the disaster has reached 36, Masai said. The woman’s rescue raised to 137 the number of people saved.
Dozens are still listed as missing, but Kenyan Red Cross officials say it is not clear whether those listed were caught in the collapse or escaped but have not been traced.
Earlier this week rescuers had said there was little chance of finding more survivors. A baby was pulled out of the wreckage on Tuesday, dehydrated but otherwise apparently unharmed. The baby was reunited with her father, but Masai said her mother was among those killed.
The residential block collapsed on Friday night after days of heavy rain. The Interior Ministry said the building, built close to a river, had been earmarked for demolition, but local authorities had not acted on the order.
Two owners of the building and three local officials have been questioned by police and were released on bail on Wednesday.
The disaster was the latest of its kind in a rapidly-expanding city. Several other buildings in Nairobi have collapsed in recent years, with fewer deaths.(Reuters)