Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s bustling commercial capital, was struck by a devastating incident on Friday as a six-storey building collapsed while still under construction. According to firefighters present at the scene, at least seven builders lost their lives in the tragic incident.
Eyewitnesses reported that around midday, the workers suddenly heard alarming cracking sounds, signaling the imminent disaster. The building started to crumble, trapping the builders within its collapsing structure. Jourdin Yoro, a caretaker and builder, described the chaotic scene, saying, “In a rush, we started to run. Within about 45 seconds, the building collapsed.”
The aftermath of the collapse left a harrowing scene, with rescue operations continuing in the upscale Riviera Palmeraie district of Abidjan. Emergency workers tirelessly sifted through a vast pile of shattered concrete and debris, hoping to find any survivors amidst the ruins.
Tragically, the collapse resulted in the injury of nine additional individuals, as confirmed by Charles Paolo, the head of the firefighting unit leading the rescue efforts.
Building collapses, unfortunately, occur with relative frequency in Ivory Coast and other parts of West Africa, particularly during the rainy season. These incidents are often attributed to the lax enforcement of building regulations and the use of substandard construction materials.
In response to the recurring tragedies, the Ivorian government pledged to enhance compliance with safe construction practices in 2022. This commitment followed two separate building collapses in Abidjan within a span of two weeks in February and March, which claimed the lives of thirteen people. The government’s aim is to improve building regulations and ensure the use of quality materials, reducing the risks associated with construction projects.
Afaf Al Fahchouch