NAIROBI, March 30 (Reuters) - The death toll from the collapse of a building in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam has climbed to 17, a senior government official said on Saturday.
The building of more than 12 storeys, which had been under construction, collapsed on Friday morning near a mosque in the Kariakoo district around the city centre. Several cars were crushed by falling masonry.
Tanzania’s buoyant economy has fuelled a building boom, especially in Kariakoo and the city centre. But the speed of construction has raised concerns about standards.
“I can confirm that so far 17 people have been killed and their bodies have already been recovered,” Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Said Meck Sadick told Reuters.
State television carried the same figure after conflicting reports on Friday about the death toll.
“Eighteen people survived the collapse of the building, but the search for more survivors continues,” Sadick said, adding that the rescue operation had run through the night and would continue until everyone was accounted for.
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” he said. “There is a lot of rubble that still has to be removed.”
Witnesses said they believed construction workers were inside the building when it collapsed, and up to four boys who had been playing soccer at the nearby mosque were missing.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who visited the scene on Friday, ordered authorities to take action against responsible parties. Police officials said four suspects had been arrested, including the building owner and contractor. (Reporting by Fumbuka Ng‘wanakilala; Editing by Edmund Blair and Andrew Roche)