Building collapse call centre inundated

2014-09-17 15:15
Rescue workers search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

Rescue workers search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

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Johannesburg - A call centre dealing with missing South Africans in Nigeria after a building collapse has been inundated with calls, the international relations department said on Wednesday.

"The call centre is operational 24 hours a day. The calls are many, they come literally every minute," spokesperson Clayson Monyela said.

He could not provide a figure on how many calls had been received so far.

Monyela was also not yet able to give an update on the rescue effort in Lagos, Nigeria, or the number of injured and dead.

A multi-storey guest house of the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed on Friday, killing dozens of people.

On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma put the South African death toll at 67.

Local residents were believed to have been part of at least five South African tour groups lodging at the church.

Agencies reported that over 100 survivors had been rescued. The number of injured people was not yet known.

Zuma said he directed various government departments to ensure relatives of the victims were taken to Lagos to identify bodies and repatriate them. The identities of the deceased had not yet been made public.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj on Wednesday said there had been delays in getting information but that once it was received the public would be informed.

"It has been difficult in getting the news and information. Our figures are based on information received from family and friends, and the high commission in Nigeria. It is subject to change as things go on," he said.

"There have been delays in getting the information. We don't have the figures of those injured. Sometime during the day we will be better placed on the information and the public will be informed."

The number for the call centre in South Africa is: 012 351 1000.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  nigeria  |  johannesburg  |  nigeria building collapse  |  west africa

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