School Collapses in Nigerian City of Lagos

A child is rescued after a school in Lagos, Nigeria collapses.

In Nigeria’s largest city of Lagos, a school has collapsed killing several children and leaving more trapped. More than 40 children have been pulled from the rubble alive. An estimated 144 students attend the school, but reportedly not all were in attendance when the building collapsed due to sports activities. The school was in the crowded area of Ita Faji in Lagos.

The three-story commercial and residential building, which housed an illegal nursery and primary school, crumpled into a pile of concrete slabs and dust just after 10 a.m. local time on Wednesday, March 13. Students were already attending class on the top floors of the structure, the Associated Press reported.

Search efforts were called off around 1:00 p.m. local time on March 14. Rescuers had reportedly reached the building’s foundation. Current reports indicate 8-10 children have died and 37-41 were rescued.

The school, which was on the top floor of the four-story building in Ita Faji on Lagos Island, had more than 100 pupils, a rescue official told the BBC.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency confirmed four adults, five teenagers and a boy are among those rescued.

“Arriving at the scene we promptly increased the pace and rescued many more lives. Unfortunately, we could not save everyone and while clearing away the rubble we discovered some lives that were lost in the collapse,” LSEM Tweeted.

An Unsafe Structure

The building had reportedly been identified as “distressed” and listed for demolition, Lagos building officials told the BBC. Large crowds reportedly hindered rescue operations as emergency workers and local men attempted to free the children.

Buildings regularly collapse in Nigeria. In 2016, more than 100 people were killed when a church came down in southeastern Nigeria. Illegal construction and unpermitted additions are reportedly among the factors causing the pervasive issue with mounting death tolls.

“Many factors can be adduced to the continuous occurrences of building collapse which, include inadequate monitoring of construction sites by government officials as a result of the vast and fast pace of developments in many Nigerian urban centres; as well as the use of substandard materials, improper soil investigations, bad design and supervision, poor quality construction and poor funding by clients,” according to an April 2015 study by the Federal University of Technology’s Department of Architecture in Akure, Nigeria.

Rescue Efforts Continued Into Thursday

Searching continued throughout the night, and on Thursday second day of searching began for school children trapped in the rubble.

“We worked through the night and one body was recovered,” the south-west coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye, said on Thursday, reports The Guardian.

Lagos state Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode has said the building, which had been marked for demolition, was classified as residential and the school was operating illegally on the top two floors, reports FOX News.

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