Home South African George building collapse death toll rises to 24

George building collapse death toll rises to 24

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The George Municipality has confirmed that the building collapse death toll has risen to 24.

Rescue and recovery efforts continue at the site of the collapsed building at 75 Victoria Street in George. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane, Independent Newspapers

THE GEORGE Municipality has confirmed that the death toll has now risen to 24 in the building collapse.

In a statement issued on Monday, May 13, the municipality said rescue workers continue on site in Victoria Street where they are still hopeful of retrieving workers.

The rescue operations have been ongoing for a full week and emergency services have been on site for over 160 hours.

At the time of the incident, 81 workers were on site and so far 50 workers have been rescued and recovered, 24 workers are dead and 15 are hospitalised.

“The primary focus continues to be on rescue efforts. With this in mind, we are also pro-actively setting up plans to expedite the identification of the deceased. With the support of the Forensic Pathology Service (FPS) and the South African Police Service (SAPS),” George Municipality spokesperson Chantel Edwards said.

“We endeavour to fast-track the process. This fast-tracking process, among other benefits, helps bring closure to families.”

The pathology service will be on site on Monday.

Edwards said all emergency services personnel and volunteers on-site have not reported any injuries since the start of operations.

“We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) teams at the site for keeping rescue workers safe. To date, there have been no serious incidents involving rescue workers or volunteers. Each participating company is tasked with assigning OHS officers to ensure safety at the scene,” she said.

The National Minister for Public Works and Infrastructure, Sihle Zikalala, will be visiting the site at 12.30pm and the National Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Alvin Botes, will be on-site at 3pm.

The municipality has also made an urgent call for professional psychosocial support practitioners to assist survivors and their families.

“There is still an urgent call for professional psychosocial support practitioners proficient in Chewa, Portuguese, and Shona languages to assist survivors and their families. Several practitioners have already offered their services and more are welcome to contact Ms Kholiswa Jobela at 078 210 5972 or Mr Apolus Swart at 061 504 4205,” Edwards said.

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