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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 11:34 GMT
Uganda church crushes worshippers
The remains of Kalerwe Church in Kampala, Uganda
The church collapsed during heavy rainfall
At least 27 people have been killed after a church roof collapsed and crushed them during a service in Uganda's capital, Kampala.

At least 86 other worshippers were injured in the accident. Most of the dead were crushed when a wall crumbled during a heavy storm.

All the bodies have been removed and the remaining walls will have to be demolished for safety reasons.

The flouting of building regulations is a common problem, say reporters.

The accident occurred at about 1900 local time (1600 GMT) in the northern suburb of Kalerwe and it remains unclear how many worshippers, who were seated on plastic chairs, were present at the service when the wall collapsed.

It was completely chaotic. Everyone was trying to get out
Fire and rescue chief Joseph Mugisa

"We were in the church for the service and it was raining very heavily," said worshipper Nsubuga Hannington, who suffered a head injury.

"All of a sudden, I heard a crash and the wall fell down."

Under construction

Fire and rescue chief Joseph Mugisa told the Associated Press news agency: "It was completely chaotic. Everyone was trying to get out. People were yelling and shouting."

Mariam with her mother and Australian Jean Leak who runs African Action organisation (Jean sent this picture into yourpics@bbc.co.uk)
We're hoping that a good Samaritan has picked her up and is looking after her
Sunday Sula Lasa
First person at the scene

The church is located in a slum area and there have been frequent power cuts in recent weeks.

The agency quoted witnesses as saying that people had burned chairs to provide light to help rescue teams dig through the wreckage.

The church was under construction, but regional police commander Grace Puryagumanawe said officers were "going to investigate the poor build standards".

The Ugandan police spokesman says the problem of poorly constructed buildings has recently become rampant and blames the urban planning authorities.

Although there are planning and building regulations, high levels of corruption mean short cuts are often taken.

The BBC's Will Ross at the scene says that with close to 100 of the injured taken to hospital, and with many of them critically injured, the number of dead is likely to rise.


SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Uganda church collapse
09 Mar 06 |  In Pictures


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