Ten South Africans positively IDed in Lagos

2014-09-18 23:18
Rescue workers gather at the site of a collapsed building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

Rescue workers gather at the site of a collapsed building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

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Johannesburg - Ten of the 67 South African citizens killed in the building collapse at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria have been positively identified, government said on Thursday.

A South African assessment team which travelled to the West African country on Wednesday said the 10 bodies were identified through reference to identity documents found in their possession.

The families of the deceased had been notified and social workers had been deployed to assist them, government said.

Officials were maintaining contact with relatives of those who were visiting the church and had asked them to send photographs of their relatives which could be used for identification purposes.

"Since the appeal made yesterday [on Wednesday] for family members to send photographs of their affected loved ones to the operations centre at dirco, we have received an overwhelmingly positive response and we appreciate this gesture of co-operation," government said in a statement.

"We have forwarded the pictures to the South African consulate in Nigeria and the team on the ground in Lagos is making use of the pictures in the process of identifying those of our fallen compatriots who can still be identified through the use of photographs.

"We understand that some of the bodies may take a while to be positively identified due to the nature and extent of the calamity."

A guest house belonging to the church, led by Prophet TB Joshua, collapsed and was reduced to rubble on Friday.

349 South Africans

The assessment team has established that 349 South Africans were in Lagos on matters connected to the church when the disaster occurred.

"Of these, 265 were found alive. Out of the 84 that are unaccounted for, the figure of our compatriots that perished, as received from our mission, stands at 67," government said in a statement.

Some of the survivors of the incident had arrived back in South Africa.

The assessment team was making arrangements for the treatment and return of those who were injured in the disaster.

"The team will also work with authorities on the process of the repatriation of the mortal remains of deceased South Africans," said government, adding that it would ensure that all the country's citizens were accounted for.

"The SA high commissioner and the consul general have been working with the leadership of the church and other authorities, visiting the scene, going to hospitals and mortuaries in an effort to provide assistance to all our affected citizens," said government.

A 24-hour operations centre had also set up at the department of international relations and cooperation to relay information from Nigeria to the families as well as to receive information from the families and to share such information with the team on the ground in Lagos.

Read more on:    scoan  |  tb joshua  |  nigeria  |  nigeria building collapse

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