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Author Topic: Synagogue Tragedy: South Africa sends plane to fly back injured nationals  (Read 316 times)

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South Africa, which lost about 84 nationals in the collapsed guest house at the Synagogue church in Lagos, has sent a plane to fly home survivors of the disaster.

According to reports, 349 South Africans were visiting the church at the time of the incident. There are 265 survivors while 17 remain unaccounted for. The 96 injured are now reduced to 29, including a three-year-old.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) put the final death toll at 90 with 131 survivors.

A South African team of experts is already in the country joining the team working on identifying the victims.

Yesterday, leader of the church, Prophet TB Joshua, said he would travel to South Africa to meet families and survivors of the house collapse.

Joshua told the congregation during his weekly morning service that he ?will be travelling to South Africa to meet people from South Africa and other nations who find South Africa easier to visit, in memory of martyrs of faith.?

Joshua also observed a minute silence ?in memory of martyrs of faith?.

The church leader has blamed the incident on sabotage but the Lagos State and the federal government are investigating the claims.

The building collapsed on September 12.

Giving an update on the situation in Pretoria yesterday, the South African Government said:
?We are aware that this is a difficult period of uncertainty for the nation, particularly for the families, friends and colleagues of those directly affected.

?We can assure you that the South Africa Government is working around the clock, together with the Nigerian Government and the leadership of the Church, through the South African High Commission and Consulate-General in Nigeria to assist survivors and to recover, identify and confirm the deceased. South Africa has dispatched assessment, medical, forensic, social development and disaster management teams in this regard.

?The team deployed in Lagos comprise of internationally acclaimed experts in the field of forensic science and disaster management. A leading member of the team is Brigadier Helena Ras, Head of Technology Management, Criminal Records and Forensic Sciences. Brigadier Ras is an international expert on body identification and she consulted internationally on disaster management.

?The South African assessment team is already in Lagos is assessing the situation on the ground and reporting back to the Inter-Ministerial Committee through the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS). The NATJOINTS is the operational structure of the JCPS Cabinet Cluster constituting of all JCPS member departments such as SAPS, SANDF, Justice and Correctional Services, NPA, Home Affairs, Social Development, Health, COGTA and State Security. The NATJOINTS has activated all its nine Provincial Operation Centres to directly liaise with families.

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

Due to the nature and extent of the tragedy, the process of identifying the mortal remains requires meticulous attention to detail; and Government is confident that the team assigned to carry out this task has the necessary capacity and skill. Meanwhile, we call for patience on the publication of victims? names while the due processes are followed.

Family members have been contacted and arrangements have been put in place for them to participate in the identification process of the deceased. Only after this process has been completed can the names of the deceased be released to the families.


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