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40 Trapped in Yet Another Building Collapse in Port Harcourt

Posted by From Chuks Okocha and Okon Bassey in Port Harcourt on 2005/07/18 | Views: 405 |

40 Trapped in Yet Another Building Collapse in Port Harcourt


For the wounded, it was a mixture of shock and disbelief, cries of pain and tears of agony when a five-story building still under con-struction collapsed yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital with more than 40 people reportedly trapped.

For the wounded, it was a mixture of shock and disbelief, cries of pain and tears of agony when a five-story building still under con-struction collapsed yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital with more than 40 people reportedly trapped.

The collapsed building located at Tombia street extension, Government Reservation Area 3 brings to three the buildings that have collapsed in the past two months.

An eyewitness told Thisday that the incident occurred at about 4 am yesterday with all the occupants mostly workers on site sleeping. Sources say the workers were not only trapped in the building, the site engineer and manager of the building could not escape.

The victims mostly artisans include plumbers, electricians, iron binders, painters, carpenters, some with their girlfriends occupying rooms in the building pending resumption of work following the re-certification of high rise buildings in the state.

A nearby resident, Mr. J. J. Rollings said that “by 4.am, this morning (yesterday) I heard a noise and ran out from my house, when I looked round I did not see the building again.

“I called the two security men, I did not hear from anybody. I forced the gate open, saw policemen on patrol and pleaded with them to assist communicate the authority for rescue.

“ I can say for sure that to up to 40 people are trapped in the building; but they could be more because by the time of the incident some of their friends were also sleeping with them in the building."

When our correspondent visited the scene of the collapsed building yesterday top government officials, members of the Nigerian Red Cross, the police, fire fighters and other voluntary agencies had completely taken over the environment.

Some sympathisers were seen using shovels and other iron implements to break concrete blocks and rescue some victims shouting for help. As at press time a rescue team led by Julius Berger construction company had rescued 10 of those trapped.

Those injured were taken to University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital and Braithwaite Memorial Hospital for treament.
State Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Telenyem Renner Ikuru said the state government would be tough with house owners who have flouted government directives on re-certification of building plan before continuation of work.

According to him over 50 persons have been arrested and fined N500, 000 each for disobeying the directive to re-certify high rise building plans.
Ikuru and the Special adviser to the state governor on Fire Service and Emergency, Mr. Bebe Ukpabia said the disaster may not be unconnected to soil failure which he described as a very ugly one.

“We are told that about 20 – 30 artisans who were actually brought in to work in the building are involved in the calamity. Hopefully we are going to rescue some of them,”, Ukpabia said.

He said government is determined to take more stringent measure to stop this unpleasant development in the state, adding that government may be forced to pull down some of the highrise buildings.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.