Arrive Alive

Update on building site collapse in George

Rescue and recovery efforts continue into week two after the incident took place at 75 Victoria Street where a partially-built building collapsed.

Since the first call for support by Psychosocial Support Practitioners was put out on 11 May 2024, we can confirm that adequate numbers of fluent practitioners in Chewa, Portuguese, and Shona languages are all on-site to address the emotional, social, and overall mental health needs of those affected by the building collapse. Thank you for standing with us during this critical time.

Rescue workers and other role players have been on site for 187 hours.

The confirmed statistics for the incident are: 
* Total estimated individuals on-site when the incident occurred: 81
* Rescued and recovered: 61
* Of which deceased: 32 (26 males, 6 females)
* Currently hospitalised: 12
* Unaccounted for: 20

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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. Fingerprints, DNA testing and photographs of unique markings such as tattoos and clothing items are some of the methods used to identify the deceased. Forensic Pathology Services are not limited to the Victoria Street Disaster in George, but also include other cases that happen on a daily basis.

It is confirmed that six (6) of the deceased were positively identified – this information also went through the system. 

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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.

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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. 

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Today, 14 May 2024, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Provincial and National Teams will be visiting the area at 10:00.

The National Minister of Employment and Labour, Hon. Thulas Nxesi, will be visiting the area on Thursday, 16 May 2024.

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A request for a Cultural prayer by a family member of one of the deceased was made and permission has been granted for Wednesday, 15 May 2024 at 07:15.

The next update will be issued by 12:00 midday, 14 May 2024.

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