Seven dead and dozens injured in Nairobi school collapse, Kenya
At least seven children have died after a classroom collapsed at a primary school in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, officials say. The wooden structure at Precious Talent Top School collapsed just minutes after the start of the school day on Monday, 23 September 2019. Dozens of people were injured and have been taken to hospital in the city. Emergency services were at the scene. Rescuers reportedly had difficulty getting to the school because of the large crowds that had gathered nearby. "We have regrettably lost seven lives to this morning's incident," Education Secretary George Magoha told reporters outside the school in Dagoretti. He added that 64 people had been injured.
The school's director, Moses Ndirangu, blamed the collapse on the construction of a nearby sewer, which he said may have weakened the foundations of the building. The collapse happened shortly before 7h00 local time and dozens of children were rushed away from the scene.
The Kenyan Red Cross transferred some children to the Kenyatta National Hospital. Two of the injured were reported to be in a critical condition.
The first floor of the building collapsed and trapped the children below, local politician John Kiarie told the NTV Kenya television channel.
Angry locals complained about the slow emergency response. The government said it had opened an investigation into the cause of the accident.
Images on social media showed hundreds of residents gathered around the site as rescuers search through the rubble. Books, desks and chairs could be seen amongst the debris.
"I had just dropped my son to school and heard screams on my way back," Margaret Muthoni, whose four-year-old son was injured, told the AFP news agency. "I am just lucky my son survived," she said.
The private school is located near Nairobi's well-known Ngong Racecourse and more than 800 pupils are thought to attend.
The BBC's Ashley Lime in Nairobi says that many Kenyans prefer private schools are preferred to state schools, considering them superior. Free primary school education, introduced by the Kenyan government in 2003, has led to overcrowding.
Our reporter says it is common to see three pupils sharing a single desk in public schools, while morale among teachers is often poor. As a result, the number of private schools has increased markedly, from 7 742 in 2014 to 16 594 this year, official figures show.