At least seven pupils have died after a classroom collapsed on pupils at Precious Talent School on Ngong Road in Kenya's capital Nairobi.
Several learners have also been injured in the Monday morning tragedy, with Kenya Red Cross reporting that dozens had been trapped.
Some 59 pupils have been admitted at the Kenyatta National Hospital, but they are in stable condition, KNH communication manager Hezekiel Gikambi says.
Most of the pupils have sustained soft tissue injuries mostly on their head and ribs.
The two-storey building in Ng’ando area caved in and came down a few minutes to 7am.
TV footage showed rescue teams from Kenya Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance, school workers, residents and other Good Samaritans combing through the rubble and lifting blocks as they battled to save the trapped children.
Some of the rescuers used rudimentary tools, including sticks, to dig up the rubble as many parents watched in despair.
The school managers could not estimate the number of pupils who were in class when the building came tumbling down at 6.50am.
According to parents, the school managers called them immediately to notify them of the collapse.
The classes that collapsed were housing the junior primary pupils but the most affected are those in Standard Six, Seven and Eight on the ground floor, who were trapped in rubble.
The school owner Mr Moses Wainaina termed the collapse as “accident”, which he blamed on Nairobi City County.
According to Mr Wainaina, the Governor Mike Sonko administration recently dug a sewer line behind the classrooms, weakening the building’s foundation.
“They had good intentions to help this school but an accident has happened,” he said as he battled to calm irate parents.
Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang was among the first senior government officials to arrive at the scene of desperation.
Dr Kipsang refused to address the media, saying investigations were underway and a report would be given later.
Soon after the incident, there were no fire engines on site and many used bare hands to save lives, bringing into question the city county’s disaster preparedness.
Some parents and school neighbours said they had raised concerns over the safety and stability of the building.
The floors of the classrooms were made of wood and on it slab held together by wire mesh.
Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie blamed the disaster on the national and county governments, saying they had left the people of Ng’ando to their devices.
He said the area with a slum has no public social amenity, creating room for private investors to make money at all costs.