Nigeria collapse: Gift of the Givers offers help

2014-09-20 07:15
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 - South Africans needing help finding relatives following the building collapse at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria, should contact charity Gift of the Givers, it said on Friday.

Following a radio interview early on Friday evening, founder Imtiaz Sooliman said he received calls from five people wanting to find missing relatives.

"People who called me asked if I could find their family members," Sooliman said.

"I asked for the name of the family member, their ID number and a picture of the family member. If there is anyone who seeks assistance in trying to contact family members in Lagos, they are more than welcome to contact me."

If Sooliman could not be reached over the phone, the information could be SMSed to him, with a picture, if possible. He can be contacted on 083 236 4029.

Earlier on Friday, Minister in the Presidency Minister Jeff Radebe said the death toll of 84 South Africans in the collapse of the multi-storey guest house remained a "tentative figure".

"As of yesterday evening the total number of unaccounted for South Africans and presumably deceased remains at 84," Radebe told reporters in Pretoria.

"This figure however remains tentative as it is still subject to confirmation through the forensic tests. As soon as our team have completed that verification, we will know exactly how many South Africans have perished."

The minister, who heads an inter-ministerial task team on the disaster, said a team of senior South African rescue and forensics experts had arrived in Nigeria and started work.

"The assessment team is focusing on the following specific areas: body recovery and repatriations, victims listing and confirmation, post mortems, as well as assessment of injured persons to determine the medical condition and required levels of care."

Radebe said government had dispatched teams to give psycho-social support to the families of the injured and deceased. Social workers were at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, to support families waiting for injured relatives.

So far no bodies had been flown back to South Africa, he added.

A total of 349 South Africans were in Lagos on church business when the building collapsed. Of these, 265 were reported to have been found alive.

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