Help at hand for orphans of church building collapse

2014-09-22 10:41

Social workers will receive two South African toddlers orphaned by the building collapse in Nigeria when they arrive in the country today.

The two orphans are aged 18 months and two years, said acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams.

Another child, aged six, was also part of the 26 injured South Africans arriving home from Nigeria.

Williams said the three children were in good hands.

“These kids, we are expecting that the social development [department] will assist in making sure that they link them up with their relatives,” she told reporters outside the Swartkop Air Force Base in Pretoria today.

“There is a process to make sure that they are taken to their families.”

The government announced yesterday that 26 South Africans injured in the Lagos church collapse would be evacuated to Pretoria.

At least 86 people, among them 84 South Africans, were killed when a guesthouse belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed on September 12.

Williams said the country’s military health service had sent a mass casualty aeromedical evacuation team to Lagos.

“Among them is an orthopaedic surgeon, Colonel Theo le Roux, an internationally recognised trauma surgeon; four aeromedical officers, as well as nursing officers who have specialised in aviation medicine, and eight military paramedics,” she said.

The team would evacuate patients and help the critically wounded on their 10-hour flight back to South Africa.

“Extra measures were taken to provide care and comfort to injured children on board,” said Williams.

The plane, which was scheduled to land at the Swartkop Air Force Base at 7am today, was delayed.

“We have since been told by officials that it delayed departure in Lagos. They are now expecting it to touch down at about 10.30am,” she said.

“Unfortunately I don’t have the specific reasons on why it was delayed.”

The survivors would be taken to the Steve Biko Academic Hospital. A convoy of 12 ambulances, Tshwane metro police officers and the South African Police Service Flying Squad entered the military base after 7am.

Five soldiers, one holding a rifle, stood guard at the main entrance. Local and international news crews and broadcast vans had been outside the entrance since 5am today.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.