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Disasters

Many dead and missing after building collapses in Tanzania

Rescue workers are digging through the rubble of a building that collapsed in the downtown area of Tanzania's largest city. Police have reported fatalities and fear more people are trapped under the ruins.

A 12-storey building under construction crashed to the ground on Friday morning in downtown Dar es Salaam. As rescue workers searched for survivors, there were conflicting reports about the number of people dead.

Soon after, a senior police officer told reporters that over a dozen people had been killed in the accident. However, hours later the mayor for central Dar es Salaam, Jerry Silaa, said two people were killed and 17 survivors had been found.

Dar es Salaam Police Commander Suleiman Kova told reporters that the death toll currently stands at three.

"Four children remain unaccounted for. They were playing near the building," Kova added.

People from the surrounding neighborhood helped rescue workers dig through the rubble to search for the many people feared trapped.

The building, located in Kariakoo district, was at least 12 floors high. Witnesses said there were some cars crushed as the building collapsed and people were pulling the rubble away with their hands.

It was not immediately clear what had caused the building to collapse.

Tanzania's president, Jakaya Kikwete, visited the scene of the disaster and offered condolences on his Twitter account.

"We pray for those who have been afflicted by this tragedy. We pray for togetherness in this time of need," he said.

dr,kms/ccp (AFP, Reuters, dpa)