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Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Monday, 23 January 2006

Crowds cheer Nairobi rescuers

BBC reporter Anne Mawathe describes the scene in Nairobi, where the collapse of a four-storey building killed several people and injured more than 100.

Every time someone is rescued from the rubble, a loud cheer goes up in the crowd of onlookers. I have just watched two stretchers bearing the injured to ambulances.

Men at scene of collapsed building, Nairobi
Many were making their own efforts to rescue survivors of the crush

I accompanied an injured man to hospital. He had severe injuries on the left of his body - a leg and a hand were crushed and he could barely speak.

All he could say was that he had been having lunch in the building when it collapsed around him.

The ambulances are able to come and go freely, now that the massive crowd is being kept away from the building.

Earlier, everyone was climbing on top of the rubble, pushing, shoving, doing their own rescue work.

People took matters into their own hands after hearing cries for help from inside the crushed building.

There was anger in the crowd that professional rescue teams had taken so long to arrive - that lessons had not been learnt from the 1998 bomb attack on the US embassy in Nairobi.

The arrival of soldiers armed with guns and loudspeakers finally convinced the crowd to step back from the area.

Things are calmer now. Only rescue workers and fire fighters are allowed near the building. Cranes and trucks have arrived to remove the rubble.

The building was under construction and most of the casualties are labourers.

A billboard still stands next to the rubble, advertising space to rent alongside an artist's image of what the finished building was meant to look like.



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Kenya building collapse
23 Jan 06 |  In Pictures
Is your city too chaotic?
10 Dec 04 |  Africa
Country profile: Kenya
22 Nov 05 |  Country profiles

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