Death toll hits 34 in Tanzania building collapse

DAR ES SALAAM Mon Apr 1, 2013 5:19am EDT

1 of 3. Rescuers search for survivors amongst the rubble of a collapsed building in the Kariakoo district of central Dar es Salaam March 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Emmanuel Herman

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DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - The death toll from the collapse of a multi-storey building in Tanzania has risen to 34 after more bodies were pulled from the rubble, a senior government official said on Monday.

Rescue workers at the site in a district in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam have now cleared most of the debris and reached the basement of the building that caved in on Friday morning. It is likely more bodies could be found.

Tanzania's buoyant economy has fuelled a building boom, especially in Kariakoo and the city center. But the speed of construction has raised concerns about safety standards.

"A total of 34 people have so far been confirmed dead. We expect to conclude the search operation early today and officially announce the final death toll," Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Said Meck Sadick told Reuters.

"The bodies being recovered now have started to decompose...so we want to conclude this exercise as soon as possible to allow funeral arrangements to take place."

The building of more than 12 storeys had been under construction near a mosque in the Kariakoo district near the city center. Several cars were crushed and boys playing football nearby were among the dead.

Police said four people had been arrested over the incident.

"This is the worst building collapse in our country's history," Dar es Salaam regional police commander Suleiman Kova told Reuters.

He said those responsible would face criminal charges.

(Reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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