At least two people lost their lives when a commercial building under construction in Jinja town collapsed last evening. About 30 people are feared trapped in the debris, according to the Uganda Red Cross.
The three-story building belonging to a Somali businesswoman is located along Ghokale Road on Plot 71, opposite the Madhivani market in Jinja central division. Ali Waidha, one of the survivors, said the incident occurred at about 5:00 pm yesterday.
He explained that when he saw dust coming from the building, he jumped off the structure for his dear life. He told New Vision that he had worked at the site for three days.
“The building was near completion and we had been hired to plaster it,” he said. Waidha said there were about 30 casual laborers at the site at the time the building collapsed.
He suspects that the majority were trapped under the debris. Police officers declined to talk to journalists.
However, Onesmus Mwesigwa, the Kiira regional deputy Police commander, said it was too early for them to account for the dead, injured and those trapped. He said they were hoping to get an excavator, which he said was still being used elsewhere.
Uthuman Nayanga, from the Uganda Red Cross, Jinja branch, said they had so far retrieved four people, with two in critical condition. Alamanzan Ibanda, a bodaboda rider, said he rode two of the causalities to hospital.
“One was badly off and I had to remove my T-shirt to tie to arrest the bleeding before I could rush him to hospital,” he said.
According to sources, the engineer who was supervising the construction died two months ago. Mubarak Kirunda, the Jinja central division chairperson, said he had seen two people who were trapped in the debris.
Moses Bizitu, the Jinja municipality speaker, attributed the collapse of the structure to lack of proper supervision and using substandard materials.