Nigeria’s Ikoyi building collapse: death toll rises to 36

Nine survivors have been reported as frantic families search rubble for loved ones

The death toll from the collapse of a high-rise building in an upmarket area of Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos has risen to 36, emergency services said on Thursday.

The 21-storey building, on a construction site in the city's Ikoyi neighbourhood — known for its luxury apartments and opulent homes — came crashing down by a busy street on Monday.

The cause of the incident remains unknown but building collapses are tragically common in Africa's most populous country, where millions live in dilapidated properties and construction standards are routinely ignored.

“So far, 36 people — 33 males and three females — have been confirmed dead, while there were nine survivors,” Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, general manager of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, told AFP.

Distraught families and friends of people trapped in the rubble have been waiting for days near the scene as rescue operations continue.

Emergency services said on Wednesday that 22 bodies had been recovered but more were found later in the day.

Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) confirmed the new death toll on Thursday.

He said rescuers “won't give up until we reach ground zero”, and that bigger equipment was brought in on Tuesday evening for the operation.

The number of people present on the site at the time of the collapse is still unknown.

By Monday afternoon, only five survivors had been rescued, in a joint effort by Nema and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency.

It took ambulances, paramedics and other emergency responders more than two hours to reach the scene of the collapsed building.

More than a dozen bodies have been recovered. Families desperately searched for their loved ones, shouting their names as they scrambled over the rubble.

The collapsed building was part of a complex called 360 Degree Towers, which was intended to include luxury apartments, town houses and penthouses, said the development's website, which has since been taken offline.

The housing scheme was being developed by Fourscore Homes Limited, which claims to have a portfolio of projects in the UK, US, South Africa and other areas of Nigeria, with the lowest cost housing units available starting at $1.2 million.

Building collapses have become an increasingly common occurrence in Lagos, an emerging megacity of nearly 24 million people and a commercial hub in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is developing quickly, and chaotically.

Between 2005 and 2020, 152 buildings collapsed in the city, research by planning expert Dr Okunola Olasunkanm found.

Lagos experienced one of its worst disasters in 2014, when a six-storey building collapsed during a service by televangelist TB Joshua, killing 116 people.

Updated: November 4th 2021, 11:42 AM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS