Tragedy of the building collapse in Dar-es-salaam: A narrative of the secretariat e-mails

As the building under construction adjacent to the KSIJ Mosque crumbled to the ground in the early hours of Friday, March 29, at about 08.15 AM, there were some construction workers in the ill-fated building, several children who were playing in the Mosque/Imambara compound and few bystanders along Indira Ghandi Street who were caught unaware of the falling building and the ensuing disaster.

The first e-mail from the Jamaat secretariat was circulated at 2:36 pm on Friday 29th Marc, 2013:

“Dear Members,

Unfortunately the 16-floor building adjacent to the mosque collapsed at about 8:45 am. Some of our children are suspected trapped inside the rubble. There are no clear reports as to how many are trapped and how many managed to escape.

Shirazbhai Walji and his team are coordinating the rescue efforts, which are joined by all the communities including Bohoras, Sunni Jamaat and the Hindu community. Rescue efforts are undergoing with the full support of the government authorities and infrastructure on the site.

Community members are requested to be calm and be assured that all efforts are being undertaken to ensure a quick and efficient recovery.

We will keep you updated as the recovery progresses.

If you have an emergency, your point of contact is Dr. Jaffer Dharsee at 074-246-123.

Please do not contact just for information. This contact is provided for emergency follow up only.

Akil Hirji is part of the coordinating team and may be contacted at 0773 786 900

Please be assured that the situation is being assessed and all efforts are in place to do the best in the shortest time possible.

You may address your queries to this e-mail and we will try to answer as soon as possible

Iltimase dua.”

The 2nd update was circulated at 8:03 pm the same day:

“Dear Members,

As of right now 14 people have been taken to Muhimbili. 3 of them, construction workers at the site, have expired. 2 of our young boys were among them. These 2 have had serious injuries including broken hip and broken thighbone. They also have several deep lacerations. The other 9 were bystanders and people on the street with various injuries.

4 of our children are still beneath the rubble. The work at the site is going on at full scale and will continue overnight. We all pray for the safety of these boys.

There has been an outpour of support from all the communities. At the command site meeting, there were representatives from all the communities pledging support from logistics, food, water and a long queue to donate blood.

Local authorities have been helpful and present throughout this ongoing ordeal. Muhimbili emergency staff has been on call since the incident early in the morning.

We will keep on giving you updates, as there are further developments.

Iltimase dua,

Secretariat.”

At 12:33 am, the second update on ground zero was circulated:

 

“Inna lillahi wa inna Iliaihi rajeeoon

Dear Community Members,

The rescue workers have found the body of Marhum Suhail Karim.

May Allah grant their family sabr. Burial time will be announced later.

Secretariat”

 

At 1:51 am the 3rd update went out:

 

“Inna lillahi wa inna Iliaihi rajeeoon

Dear Community Members,

The rescue workers have found the body of Marhum Salman Salim Damji.

May Allah grant their family sabr. Burial time will be announced later.

Secretariat”

 

At 11:05 the next day morning, Saturday the 30th March, 2013, the following was circulated:

“Salaams Dear Members,

Sorry for the long radio silence. We have been anxiously awaiting for news for our two boys that are still trapped. We pray that we will be successful in finding them well.

At the moment excavation is still going on and an additional construction worker was found. Altogether, the death toll now stands at 19, which includes Marhum Suhail and Marhum Salman. 12 additionally injured of which 5 have been admitted and 7 discharged.

The mayyit committee is on standby and pending the release of the Marhums, the Mukhi; Mushtak Bhai Damji will give me the exact timings. It is expected to be held today evening. I will relay the exact timings as soon as available.

As I write this, we have received news that the marhums are now in our possession and Namaaze mayyit is scheduled for 4:15 pm and funeral at 4:30 pm at the imambarghah for both ladies and gents.

Please let us pray in unison and hope for the best,

Iltimase Dua,

Secretariat”

 

At 3:02 pm that Saturday afternoon the 5th update was circulated:

 

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajeeoon

Dear Community Members,

The rescue workers have found the body of Marhum Yusuf Mohamed Khaki, age 14.

May Allah grant their family sabr. Funeral arrangements will be announced as soon as we get clearance from Muhimbili.

Secretariat”

 

At 11:27 pm Saturday the last body of our children was found with the following announcement:

 

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajeeoon

Dear Community Members,

The rescue workers have found the body of Marhum Zahid Kanji.

May Allah grant their family sabr. Funeral arrangements will be announced as soon as we get clearance from Muhimbili. This will probably be tomorrow morning.

The work at the site will continue overnight to ensure that there are no remains.

Secretariat”

 

On Sunday March 31st at 4:16 pm the last e-mail went out:

 

“Aftermath –Ground Zero

Dear Members,

We thank Allah for facilitating our ability to put our marhums to rest.

The final statistics show 25 dead, 4 of them were our children. There were 11 survivors of which 4 are still admitted.

We are anguished, bereaved and furious, but now is the time to recover by reaching out and giving comfort, support and counseling to the families of the marhums. But then we are all affected and every one of us needs the support and comfort of each other.

The magnitude of the disaster was mind numbing but, the outpour of sympathy and support is proof of Allah’s presence amongst us. The Sikhs carrying the water, the Hindus at the front gate table, the Bohoras at the clearing site on a bulldozer, the Ismailias hosting us for food at the Jamaat Khana, and so many others that the eye and the heart could not capture. Of course our brothers and sister were all over the site spending sleepless nights there. Allah will reward you all.

We pray and convey our personal condolences to each of the boy’s parents and families and we are all praying for them and their boys.

We have a lot more to do and we will keep you updated on any developments

Till then, Iltimase dua,

Secretariat”

 

 

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