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MEDIA STATEMENT: 06:00 Update on Building Collapse Site in George, Western Cape – South Africa

Issued by the Garden Route District JOC/George Municipality, 13 May 2024, at 06:00

Rescue and recovery efforts continue into a week after the incident took place at 75 Victoria Street where a partially-built building collapsed. Rescue workers and other role players have been on site for 160 hours.

The confirmed statistics for the incident are:

* Total estimated individuals on-site when the incident occurred: 81
* Rescued and recovered: 50
* Of which deceased: 21
* Currently hospitalised: 15
* Unaccounted for: 31

The primary focus continues to be on rescue efforts. With this in mind, we are also proactively setting up plans to expedite the identification of the deceased. With the support of Forensic Pathology Service (FPS) and South African Police Service (SAPS). We endeavour to fast-track the process. This fast-tracking process, among other benefits, helps bring closure to families.

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.

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 there services and more are welcomed to contact Ms. Kholiswa Jobela at 078 210 5972 or Mr. Apolus Swart at 061 504 4205.

The National Minister for Public Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Sihle Zikalala, will be on site today at 12:30 and the National Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr. Alvin Botes, will be on site at 15:00.

The next update will be issued by 09:00 today, 13 May 2024.