Three university students were among the five people who perished in a building that collapsed on Monday evening in Murang’a town.
Two of the students were pursuing various courses at Murang’a University while the third was in third year at Moi University.
One of the students, Emmanuel Asande died a few minutes after he was taken to Murang’a Level-5 Hospital.
Asande, who was undertaking his industrial attachment at the construction site, had worked in the building for the last two weeks.
A preliminary medical report indicated the second-year student at Murang’a University of Technology who was pursuing civil engineering, died due to injuries he sustained in his spinal cord.
His colleague, Daniel Nkulet, a third year procurement student, was working at the construction site as a casual worker.
Nkulet who had deferred his studies for a semester, had worked in the building which had reached the third storey before collapsing, for about four weeks.
Vice Chancellor of the Murang’a University of Technology Professor Dickson Nyariki termed the incident as unfortunate saying it has claimed the lives of young people who were hardworking and who had bright futures.
“The information about the students was disturbing and has left the university fraternity in grief. I convey my condolences to the affected families and promise the university will play a role in the burial preparations of the two,” he added.
The president of Murang’a University Students Organization (MUSO) Davis Kemboi said they will organize an occasion to mourn the two students.
“We were shocked and emotionally affected by the death of our colleagues who were just trying to earn something to support their education. We send our condolences to the families of our two comrades,” said Kemboi.
The third student, Geoffrey Wachira who was pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology at Moi University also met his death at the construction site where he was working as a casual labourer.
His father, Lawrence Kingori told KNA his son opted to work at the construction site after he completed his attachment at Murang’a Level 5 hospital.
“My son was to go back to university for his fourth year in September this year and so I allowed him to do some construction to earn some money. He had worked at the building for barely two weeks before he met his death.” Said King’ori.
A close friend of the family Patrick Muturi termed Wachira as a hardworking young man saying the tragedy had robbed the family and the community of a person who could be of great help in the future.
The building which was being constructed at Jua kali area in Murang’a town, tilted on one side on Monday evening leading to the collapse of some of the walls.
Those affected were at ground floor of the building which left five dead and four recuperating at Murang’a Level-5 hospital.
Rescue teams drawn from Kenya Defense Forces, County disaster, National Disaster Management Unit, the Red Cross helped in the rescue mission, an exercise which ended on Tuesday evening.
On Tuesday, speaking when he visited the scene, Principal Secretary for Public Works Joel Arumonyang said the government is working to put in place regulations which will address gaps in the construction sector.
He decried loss of lives which have been witnessed through collapsing of buildings saying such tragedies can be avoided.
He added that they will engage the national assembly to pass the building control bill which will address gaps in the building sector.
“Inspection of buildings is going on and already we have covered 26 counties, and this exercise will continue to ensure people live in safe buildings,” he added.
The PS said that through the National Construction Authority (NCA) they will ensure vigilance and call on professionals to give their best in terms of supervision.
The CEO of the NCA, Maurice Aketch, stated that the relevant authorities had commenced investigations into the actual cause of the collapse of the building.
“NCA is working to ensure all constructions happening in the country comply with all the regulatory requirements and especially standards to maintain quality, safety, and the wellbeing of Kenyans and the environment,” he remarked.