Kenya to intensify demolition of unsafe buildings

Xinhua News Agency


The Kenyan government on Tuesday announced formation of an inter-agency team to oversee demolition of structurally compromised residential buildings in the capital, Nairobi.

Senior officials from the ministry of public works told a media briefing in Nairobi that an audit on unsafe buildings will be conducted in Nairobi and other major towns to pave way for their demolition.

"So far, we have earmarked 228 buildings for demolition in Nairobi and will extend inspection on other unsafe residential apartments in other towns. The demolition exercise will be overseen by experts from different state agencies," Principal Secretary for Public Works, Paul Mwangi told journalists in Nairobi.

He revealed the Kenyan public has overwhelmingly responded to government's request to report buildings that were structurally weak and were a threat to public safety.

"Since we announced new hotlines for the public to report unsafe buildings, the feedback has been positive. Kenyans have alerted us on residential premises whose structural integrity is compromised," Mwangi told reporters.

The collapse of a six storey buildings in Nairobi's Huruma estate on April 30 that led to loss of 52 lives necessitated demolition of unsafe structures in Nairobi's low income settlements.

Following a directive from the central government, several unsafe buildings were demolished in Huruma Estate on May 6 but the exercise was halted for one week to facilitate resettlement of tenants.

Mwangi said the government will take advantage of the one week moratorium to conduct a comprehensive audit on structural integrity of buildings in Nairobi.

"The seven-day inspection on safety of residential buildings will inform the next phase of demolition that will spread in all parts of the country. We are committed to safeguard the lives of innocent Kenyans," said Mwangi.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) has pledged disciplinary action on errant members who collude with unscrupulous developers to put up unsafe buildings.

ISK chairman Stephen Ambani regretted that professional negligence, greed and lack of law enforcement has contributed immensely to collapse of buildings in Nairobi.

"Professionals involved in the construction process alongside state agencies should adhere to regulations to enhance safety of our buildings," said Ambani.