- "There have been 57 students that have been taken to hospital for treatment, and we can also confirm that there have been seven fatalities.”
- The school's owner described the collapse as an "accident," and blamed the local government for weakening the building's foundation.
- Although the school is private, the government spokesman said the Executive will bear the costs of medical care received by injured children.
At least seven children were killed, and 64 others injured, after a school collapsed Monday morning in the suburbs of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Emergency services and the country’s authorities confirmed the accident. The injured pupils were initially 57, but the number has since risen to 64. They were all rushed to various hospitals in the city’s neighborhood for treatment.
“There have been 57 students that have been taken to hospital for treatment, and we can also confirm that there have been seven fatalities,” said Colonel Cyrus Oguna, a Kenyan government spokesman, while addressing news reporters who gathered at the scene of the accident. The collapse affected Precious Talent School in the Ngando area, in the west of the Kenyan capital, where the two-story building, constructed with wood and metal panels, collapsed at around 7:00 AM, local time.
Both the emergency services and the residents of the area intervened in the rescue of the students of the center, which was reduced to ruble. The communications director of the humanitarian organization, Saint John Ambulance Service, Fred Majiwa, explained that the upper floor, made of concrete, sank and fell on the classrooms on the lower floor. The upper floor housed elementary school children under five years of age, while in the lower floor is where older students studied.
The school’s owner, Moses Wainaina, described the collapse as an “accident,” and blamed the Nairobi city county authorities for their recent sewer works that, in his opinion, weakened the building’s foundation. “They had good intentions to help this school but an accident has happened,” he said as he tried to calm the angry parents.
Although the school is private, the government spokesman said the Executive will bear the costs of medical care received by injured children, admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, the largest public medical center in the country. The hospital’s head of communications department, Hezekiel Gikambi, told the media that most of the affected pupils sustained soft tissue injuries and added that many of them are in a stable condition.
On his part, the Kenyatta National Hospital acting chief executive officer, Evanson Kamuri, said that most of the pupils are in a stable condition and will be discharged soon. “Only two are in serious conditions, a boy and a girl. We have done MRI and CT scans and so far so well,” he said, while addressing a battery of journalists outside the hospital premises.
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Education, Professor George Magoha, has ordered the school’s closure with immediate effect for four days, as things are put in order to ensure pupil’s safety. “We have asked the pupils to stay at home for four days as we put everything in check to ensure they are safe,” Magoha said. “The school will be closed until Monday during which the building will have been inspected. We will then give an informed decision after that,” Magoha added.