March 18, 2019
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Rescue work continues after deadly school collapse in Nigeria

Abuja, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- Search and rescue operations continued Thursday in the southwestern Nigerian city of Lagos, a day after a three-story building that housed a school collapsed, trapping more than 100 people under rubble.

According to Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, rescue work is expected to end later in the day with a declaration of the final death and injury toll.

"We will declare the search closed today and will release figures on the casualties suffered," the official Twitter account of LASEMA stated.

LASEMA said that the organization's early arrival at the scene of the collapse "increased the pace and rescued many more lives."

Children who were found alive were evacuated on stretchers and transferred to nearby hospitals.

LASEMA also said they "have taken note of the issue of crowd control on the scene" as a huge number of bystanders, who were present at the site of the collapse, could hinder rescue operations.

LASEMA went on to underscore that the organization is learning from the disaster and would make more improvements on its relief work in future collapses.

On Wednesday, a state government official in Lagos, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told EFE that the death toll stood at 12, most of whom were children attending classes at the moment the building came tumbling down.

Meanwhile, police spokesman Baba Elkana told EFE that emergency services had rescued more than 50 people from under the rubble, at least eight of whom were injured.

Poor quality buildings collapse with some frequency in Nigeria where rules governing constructions are often not followed properly, officials have said.

A five-story building in Lekki Garden, Lagos, collapsed on Mar. 8, 2016, killing 30 occupants.

According to local reports, police in Lagos arrested the contractor who had been in charge of the building.

In Dec. 2016, at least 60 people were killed by the collapse of a church roof in the city of Uyo, to the east of the country.

In Sept. 2014, some 116 people, including 84 South Africans, were killed in Lagos when a six-story building collapsed during a religious gathering where a well-known television evangelist was preaching.

Lagos is Nigeria's commercial capital and also Africa's largest city, and is built upon a lagoon which opens out to the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean.

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