Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Several people still missing in South Africa building collapse

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

Several people are still missing as emergency teams continue rescue efforts after construction workers were trapped under a collapsed building in South Africa this week.

At least five people died and out of the 75 workers who had been on the construction site at the time of the collapse, 49 remain unaccounted for as at Tuesday.

Rescue workers say they had contacted 11 victims out of the 49 still unaccounted for and believed to have been buried under the rubble in the coastal city of George, in South Africa’s Western Cape province.

Out of twenty-six construction workers pulled from the rubble by Tuesday morning, about 21 have been transported to hospital.

At least 11 of those injured were in “red” conditions, authorities said, indicating that “emergency” care was needed for critical injuries under South Africa’s triage procedures.

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Three people were classified as needing “yellow” or “urgent” care, while 12 others were in less critical “green” and “blue” conditions.

South African authorities have not been able to confirm what caused the collapse of the storey building.

“Four of them are trapped in a basement,” Colin Deiner, chief director for disaster management, told a news conference, adding that there is a possibility that more could be alive.

Deiner said the priority is to get all those still trapped out as rescuers begin the process of lifting the different floors.

“It’s a very tough operation,” he said. “So many people trapped in a building like that is like searching for a needle in a haystack. You literally have to break through the concrete and cut through the reinforcing.”

The police have opened a case and authorities are investigating the cause of the collapsed building.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday sent condolences to the families of those affected and called on investigators to work quickly to rescue survivors.

“Investigations into the cause of the incident must aim to bring closure to the community and prevent a repeat of this disaster,” the statement read.

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