The death toll from the collapse of a high-rise building in an exclusive area of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, has risen to 36, emergency services said on Thursday.
The cause of the incident is unknown, but building collapses are tragically common in Africa’s most populous country, where millions live on dilapidated properties and building regulations are routinely ignored.
The 21-story building under construction in Lagos’ Ikoyi district collapsed Monday afternoon, trapping dozens of people working at the site.
“So far, 36 people have been confirmed dead, 33 men and three women, while there were nine survivors,” Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, general manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, told AFP.
Distressed families and friends of those trapped in the rubble have been waiting for days outside the site as rescue operations unfold.
Emergency services said on Wednesday that 22 bodies had been recovered, but more were found later that day.
Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency Management Agency confirmed the new death toll on Thursday.
He said rescuers “will not give up until we reach ground zero,” adding that larger equipment was brought in for the operation Tuesday night.
The number of people present at the site at the time of the collapse is still unknown.
Building collapses occur frequently in densely populated areas of Lagos, which is home to some 20 million people.
Two other smaller buildings in Lagos also collapsed Tuesday after heavy rains, although no one died, Farinloye said.
Poor workmanship and materials and a lack of official supervision are often blamed.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said on Wednesday that the incident was a “terrible national disaster”, adding that “mistakes were made.”
He said he was creating an independent panel to investigate the causes of the collapse and prevent similar incidents in the future.