Six of 32 deceased in George building collapse identified

George building collapse
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The George Municipality says six of the 32 people who died when a partially built building collapsed last week have been identified.

Municipal Spokesperson, Chantel Edwards, says they are setting up plans to speed up the identification process.

Monday marked a week since the disaster.

Edwards says 20 workers are still unaccounted for while 12 others are hospitalised.

“Fingerprints, DNA testing and photographs of unique markings such as tattoos and clothing items are some of the methods used to identify the deceased. Forensic Pathology Services are not limited to the Victoria Street Disaster in George, but also include other cases that happen on a daily basis. It is confirmed that six of the deceased were positively identified. This information also went through the system,” says Edwards.

He has urged families to come forward to assist with identifying the other deceased.

“We are experiencing difficulties in obtaining accurate names of individuals missing or deceased due to the building collapse. We urgently request families who have lost contact with their loved ones to come to the George Civic Centre on York Street,” says Edwards.

UPDATE: George Municipality on building collapse: 


Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of International Relations (DIRCO), Alvin Botes, has appealed for financial assistance from the public to help repatriate the bodies of foreign nationals killed in the collapse.

Representatives from the High Commission of Zimbabwe and Malawi are also in George to meet with family members of the victims and oversee the repatriation process.

According to Botes, repatriation is not covered by consular support services.

“It is therefore very opportune to make this very public call for South Africans, both individuals and also private companies, to come to the fore in relation to assisting the families,” says Botes.

The Deputy High Commissioner of Malawi, Panji Winston Chirwa, says those companies responsible for the building must also come forward to assist.

“The contractor has been able to identify a certain company called AVBOB which will take care of the deceased. Basically, in terms of transporting the bodies from here to Cape Town and embalming them, and we are told they are taking responsibility to buy zinc coffins. However, the problem becomes that they haven’t yet committed to repatriate the bodies.”

VIDEO | Death toll rises to 32 at George building collapse: 

-Additional reporting by Sagree Chetty