Toll rises after Nigerian building collapse

Rescue workers have pulled more bodies from the wreckage of a five-storey building that collapsed on Monday as a construction team was sleeping inside, and the death toll is now at eight, a Red Cross official said on Wednesday.

More corpses may still be lying in the debris, said Chika Onah, who heads a team of more than a dozen Red Cross workers at the site in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt.

Six people have been pulled out alive, and rescuers continue to comb the site on Wednesday using earth-movers and other heavy machinery. Local residents have been helping to clear away rubble with their hands.

“Yesterday, all we saw were dead bodies and we removed eight,” said Onah.
The unfinished hotel in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt collapsed in the early hours on Monday.

Officials have blamed poor building materials and practices for the collapse. It is unclear how many were inside when the building caved in, although officials have estimated the number at up to 20.

A register discovered at the site by the Red Cross showed that 23 workers were employed there, but others may have been staying with them, said Onah.

The Port Harcourt disaster came a day after a building collapsed in the commercial capital, Lagos. A young girl was killed by falling rubble, and another 11 were injured.

Several have died this year in Lagos and other rapidly expanding cities when their poorly made homes have crumbled, including six in Port Harcourt earlier this month.—Sapa-AP

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