Russian Gas Blast: Death Toll Jumps To 38


The number of dead from a New Year’s Eve gas explosion in a Russian apartment block jumped to 38 on Thursday as rescuers recovered more bodies from the rubble of the partially collapsed building.

Russian news agencies quoted the emergencies ministry as saying a 38th body had been recovered, leaving only three people unaccounted for.

Rescuers have been braving temperatures as low as minus 27 degrees Celsius (minus 16 degrees Fahrenheit) to search through mangled concrete and metal at the site in the Ural mountains city of Magnitogorsk.

Six people including two children have been rescued at the site, but no survivors have been found since Tuesday when a 10-month-old boy was retrieved in what officials described as a “New Year’s miracle”.

The explosion tore through the 10-storey building in the industrial city nearly 1,700 kilometres (1,050 miles) east of Moscow in the early hours of Monday.

The Soviet-era block was home to about 1,100 people and the explosion destroyed 35 apartments, leaving dozens homeless.

The emergencies ministry said work was continuing at the site on Thursday, with nearly 900 people involved in rescue and recovery efforts.

A bridge had been built to reach higher areas and one of the building’s walls was taken down as it was threatening to collapse on rescue workers.

Financial help for victims

On Thursday, residents of other parts of the building were to be allowed to enter their apartments, in half-hour stretches, to recover some belongings, the ministry said.

All the survivors were in a stable condition, said the office of Chelyabinsk regional governor Boris Dubrovsky, who visited several of them in hospital on Thursday.

The health ministry also said that Vanya, the baby boy rescued on Tuesday, was recovering in hospital.

His condition was “stable, with some improvement”, Russian news agencies quoted the ministry as saying.

The boy was found in his cradle after rescuers heard him crying from under the rubble. He was brought to his mother, who had survived the blast and then flown to Moscow for treatment.

Dubrovsky’s office said the governor had approved new financial assistance to the victims, including payments of one million rubles ($14,500, 12,700 euros) to the families of those killed and 400,000 rubles for those injured.

Families who lost their apartments would receive payments of up 500,000 rubles, as well as being provided with new homes.

Financial assistance was also to be provided to help pay for funerals, the first six of which were to be held on Friday, the governor’s office said.

The explosion, which officials have said was likely caused by a gas leak, happened as most of the building’s residents were asleep.

Witnesses described a “wave of fire” and said the blast was strong enough to shatter windows in nearby buildings.

Investigators have launched a probe, but have said there is no reason to suspect foul play.

Gas explosions are relatively common in Russia, where much of the infrastructure dates back to the Soviet era and safety requirements are often ignored.

Located in the mineral-rich southern Urals, Magnitogorsk, with a population of more than 400,000, is home to one of Russia’s largest steel producers.

Lagos Govt. Demolishes Distressed Buildings

Thirteen buildings earlier marked as distressed are to be demolished today by the Lagos State Government.

The buildings located on Lagos Island, are part of the 40 structures to be brought down in the first phase of the exercise across the state.

The Lagos State building Control Agency, which is carrying out the exercise, explained that the first phase of the demolition will last for about one month.

He added that ample notice was given to the owners of the structures before the commencement of the demolition.

Developers Of Collapsed Building Ignored Stop Work Order – Lagos Govt

The Lagos State Government says the developers of the three-storey building which collapsed in Ilasa on Thursday are responsible for the tragic incident.

Three people were killed and 19 injured in the collapse which occurred around 2 pm.

The government, however, said the tragedy would have been avoided if the developers had not decided to criminally unseal a stop work order and continue construction.

The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Wasiu Anifowose, said this after an assessment of the site of the collapse, according to a statement by the Chief Public Affairs Officer of his ministry, Mr Olubukonla Nwonah.
The commissioner said the building was disapproved and sealed off by officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), but the developers illegally broke the seal to continue work.

He said, “This particular building had been monitored and sealed off. Our officers had come back to monitor for compliance but they were prevented by hoodlums from carrying out their statutory responsibilities

“Yesterday, before the collapse, our officials were there again but were chased back to the office to reinforce when this tragedy happened.

“We had actually served all the necessary statutory stop work notices and this is evident in our records, that the building was sealed off, but this developer broke the seal twice and continued with the illegal development and this is the result of the illegality.”

The commissioner explained that the building had been sealed off because LASBCA officials discovered that the materials on the site were substandard and the developers had no development permit to embark on the construction.

Anifowose warned developers against breaking seals on buildings or ignoring stop work orders as doing that is criminal and dangerous.

He lamented the rate of building collapses in Lagos, adding, “Despite deploying officers to monitor development to prevent such ugly occurrences, some wicked, irresponsible and unscrupulous developers still carry out nefarious illegality.”

Uncompleted 3-storey building collapses in Owerri, worker trapped inside

A 3-storey building under construction along Works Layout in Owerri the Imo state capital has collapsed.

Sources said the building collapsed around 11 pm yesterday night during a heavy downpour.

It was also disclosed that a 28 year old man identified as Joseph Ekanem  a carpenter who happens to be one of the workers  inside the building have been trapped inside, even though they cannot ascertain if there are more workers trapped inside and they cannot ascertain as there are 6 workers working in the building on daily basis.

Sources also disclosed that the owner of the building who lodged in a hotel close to the building came to the scene of the incidence but quickly locked up the building and ran away, when Channels Television contacted him on the phone, he denied ownership of the building.

At the time of filing this report, State emergency management agency (SEMA), Imo rescue team, Road Safety and combined security operatives in the state forcefully broke into the premises in order to rescue the trapped man.

However, some of the people living in the neighbourhood attributed the collapse to quack and shabby job by the contractor as the foundation is not strong enough to carry a 3-storey building.

BENUE: Government plans mass burial for those killed by collapsed church building

The Benue state government on Monday assured the families of those who died in the collapse building of St Roberts Catholic Mission Church, Adambge in Vandekikya local government area of Benue state, that it will carter for their needs while the victims will be given mass burial at the church premises.

Eyewitnesses said the number of casualty was high because help could not reach those trapped on time.

The Benue state commissioner for information, Conrade Wergba who said this, disclosed that twenty two persons died in the incident while the medical bill of those injured and receiving treatment at the hospital will also be settled by the state government.

Mr Wergba and the state’s commissioner of Education, Elizabeth Ukoh had accompanied the Deputy Governor, Steven Lawani to the church to commiserate with the church and affected families on the sad incident.

Following the assessment of the incident, the state government ordered the establishment of a comprehensive health care facility in Adamgbe and grading of the road for easy accessibility to the village.

At least 22 persons were on Sunday confirmed dead as the church building collapsed on Saturday night while parishioners were worshiping during the Easter vigil service.
Eyewitnesses said the number of casualty was high because help could not reach those trapped on time.

One killed as building collapses in Lagos

A building under construction at the NITEL Training School Cappa, Oshodi in Lagos collapsed today, leading to the tragic death of one individual, reports said.

Lagos state police spokesman, Mr. Joseph Jaiyeoba, confirmed the incident to the press and explained that the victim had been an employee of the Abuja-based company, Bukola Concept Nigeria Ltd., in charge of the reconstruction of the building.

Jaiyeoba said the accident had occurred at about 9:00 a.m. this morning and identified the deceased as a Matthew Adesuji.

He was found dead under the debris, while a second person was pulled out alive, but injured.

Police are on the trail of the lead contractor who had reportedly fled the scene of the accident. Jaiyeoba said the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) are now investigating the case.