By Noellah Musundi

The search and rescue operations may soon come to an end following the collapse of an eight storey residential building in Kware, Embakasi estate in Nairobi on Monday night killing two people. Before the collapse, residents noted cracks on some floors, leading to the quick evacuation of majority of the residents.

“The process has extended as we suspect that there may be one person still trapped in the debris, ” Anwar Said, Lower Eastern Regional Manger, Kenya Red Cross said.

Initially, seven people were reported missing and by the end of the first day of operations, five were found alive, but a mother and her child had died. On the second day of operations, an eighth person was reported missing leading to an extension of the operation.

“The number of affected households has increased from 98 to 126 because of demolition of the adjacent houses to provide space for the search and rescue team,” Anwar said.

Among the first-responders on the ground were the Kenya Red Cross which, together with other line agencies, has been conducting search and rescue operations, emergency medical treatment, tracing services and psychosocial support to families affected by the tragedy.

“The Kenya Red Cross teams set up two tents at a nearby school where we offered tracing services to affected families. We further managed to coordinate and give psychosocial support to 23 people affected by the tragedy, directly and indirectly.”

At the onset of operations, more people were feared to be trapped under the rubble based on the witness accounts and reports from family and friends. However, most of the tenants were found and families reconnected through the Red Cross tracing services.

“I was at work when I learned of the collapse and my wife and three children were missing,” tenant David Kisa said. He later lost his wife and one child while two of his children were rescued.

The multi-agency operation is currently clearing the debris with hopes of closing down the operation. Affected families are being hosted at the compound of the area Chief, where well wishers continue to stream in with varying support mostly food, sleeping items, household equipment and rent.