May 3, 2016 1:25 PM

6-month-old rescued from collapsed building in Kenya

The Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) A nearly 6-month-old girl was rescued Tuesday from the rubble of a building that collapsed last week, raising hopes for more survivors in the disaster that has left 23 people dead and 93 others missing.

The child, identified by the Kenya Red Cross as Dealeryn Saisi Wasike, was brought to the hospital about 6 a.m. after being found in the ruins of the seven-story building that collapsed Friday night.

The child was found unharmed in a washbasin, said Pius Masai of the National Disaster Management center which is coordinating the rescue mission. Furniture had created pockets preventing the columns from falling on her and allowing air to flow into the rubble, he said.

"She only cried when she was rescued from the debris," Masai said. "Otherwise she had not made noise or given any indication that she was there."

Celebration, cheers, hugs and tears greeted the baby's retrieval, Masai said. "Even us here, we now have hope that we will find some more people alive." Unfortunately the baby's mother was found dead, Masai said.

The baby's father, Raslon Saisi Wasike, said his wife kept baby Dealeryn in a washtub when she was doing her household chores.

"Just imagine the child was found inside a washbasin ... she was lucky to be found. I feel happy," Wasike said. He said he was at work when the news of the collapsed reached him and he tried to frantically reach his family.

The baby had no physical injuries and was being treated for dehydration, said Simon Ithai, a spokesman at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

A medical expert said the baby was lucky to survive. "It appears this baby was pretty well-nourished if it was able to survive for four days," said Dr. Peter Sullivan, an associate professor of pediatrics at Oxford University. He said that it's possible the baby's body temperature dropped at night and slowed down her metabolism. He said that for a baby to survive without food or water for "four days is certainly possible, but it's pushing it."

Babies can typically recover from being dehydrated within one to two days, unless there are complications, said Sullivan.

The two owners of the collapsed building and 21 officials from the county government were taken into custody following the collapse, and police have asked a court to be able to hold them for three weeks while an investigation against them proceeds. The court will rule Wednesday on whether they will be granted bail.

With housing in high demand in Nairobi, some unscrupulous developers bypass regulations to cut costs and maximize profits.

After eight buildings collapsed and killed 15 people, President Uhuru Kenyatta last year ordered an audit of all the country's buildings to see if they are up to code. The National Construction Authority found that 58 percent of buildings in Nairobi are unfit for habitation. Most of Nairobi's 4 million people live in low- income areas or slums.


AP writer Maria Cheng in London contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to show that the spelling of the hospital spokesman's name is Ithai.


Associated Press TV journalist Joe Mwihia contributed to this report.


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