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Abuja Shopping Plaza Collapse Highlights Sluggish Emergency Response, 37 Rescued, 2 Dead

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ABUJA, Nigeria — A two-storey plaza in Lagos Street, Garki Village, within the Garki District of Abuja, collapsed late on Wednesday, August 23, 2023, during a heavy downpour.

Emergency officials have confirmed that 37 people have been rescued, although two were “fatally injured.”

Rescue operations were hampered during the night due to the absence of an excavator, forcing rescuers to operate manually.

The ongoing rain has also made efforts difficult.

Dr. Abbas Idriss, Director-General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, confirmed the rescue of 37 individuals transported to various hospitals across Abuja for medical attention.

“Thirty-seven persons have so far been rescued and evacuated to hospitals; others are reportedly still trapped. Rescue teams are on the ground, but operations are slow due to ongoing rain. We are trying to secure an excavator to remove people from the rubble,” Dr. Idriss said.

Dr. Idriss commended the community members and other stakeholders for their manual efforts in rescuing trapped individuals.

He noted that rescue operations would continue, with equipment awaited to expedite the process.

A Community in Crisis

The incident has shocked the community and brought to light concerns about building regulations and emergency preparedness.

The absence of crucial rescue equipment like excavators during the critical initial hours has raised questions about the capital’s readiness to respond to such emergencies effectively.

In the wake of this tragic event, families anxiously await news of their loved ones, as rescue operations slowly continue, constrained by the ongoing rain and lack of equipment.

This incident adds to the growing list of building collapses in Nigeria, often resulting from substandard materials, lax oversight, and inadequate emergency response, intensifying calls for improved construction standards and emergency readiness.

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