NAIROBI, May 3 (NNN-KBC) — The number of people who died in the building which collapsed in Huruma here over the weekend has risen to 21 after 135 others were rescued from the rubble of the six-storey residential block while another 65 are still unaccounted for.

Reports indicate that more people are still trapped under the wreckage of the building. Rescue efforts led by the Red Cross and the National Disaster Management, in conjunction with the Kenya armed forces and National Youth Service (NYS) are still ongoing.

However, progress is slow with the river that is adjacent to the collapsed building impeding accessibility to the site. Rescuers complain of being unable to move equipment onto some parts of the scene to help with heavy lifting.

Meanwhile, the government has accused the judiciary for being an impediment in ensuring sanity in the building sector.

Players in the industry claim the collapsed Huruma building was among 57 houses which had been earmarked for demolition two months ago but the owners rushed to court to stop the process.

Moses Nyakiongora from the Survey and Building Inspection Unit at the Ministry of Infrastructure said the Huruma building had been marked since 2007 as an illegal structure but the developer used the courts to frustrate the demolition exercise.

The authorities said they lacked legal teeth to carry out their mandate and described court injunctions as the biggest impediment to their work.

However, former Law Societry of Kenya (LSK) chairman Erick Mutua wants the government to ensure that Nairobi county government officers who authorized construction of the Huruma building are brought to account.