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MEDIA STATEMENT: 12:00 Update on Building Collapse Site in George, Western Cape – South Africa, 13 May 2024, at 12:00

Rescue and recovery efforts continue into a week to this day, 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 166 hours.


In solemn remembrance of the tragic building collapse on Victoria Street one week ago. The community and residents of George and South Africa will observe a minute of silence today at 14:09 to honour the lives lost and express our collective grief and support for the affected families.

The confirmed statistics for the incident are:

* Total estimated individuals on-site when the incident occurred: 81
* Rescued and recovered: 55
* Of which deceased: 26
* Currently hospitalised: 13
* Unaccounted for: 26


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. This is done by Forensic Pathology Service (FPS) and South African Police Service (SAPS). We, therefore, endeavour to fast-track the process to help bring closure to families.


We are experiencing difficulties in obtaining accurate names of individuals missing or deceased due to the building collapse. We urgently request families who have lost contact with their loved ones to come to the George Civic Centre on York Street. This will enable the Department of Social Development to collect detailed and precise information, ensuring that all records are accurately documented.


The Joint District Operations Centre’s adherence to a stringent double verification protocol is crucial for maintaining the integrity and accuracy of reported numbers of the deceased, which is essential in emergency and disaster response scenarios. This verification process involves cross-referencing information from multiple reliable sources, such as recovery teams, hospitals, and forensic services.


The Humanitarian Commission is scheduled to meet with on-site teams today to ensure that the disaster response is conducted in a humane, coordinated manner while upholding legal and ethical standards.


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, and the National Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr. Alvin Botes, will be visiting the site today.

The next update will be issued by 15:00 today, 13 May 2024.