South Africa building collapse claims 26 lives as death toll rises

The death toll resulting from the building collapse in South Africa has tragically climbed to 26 individuals, while 26 others remain unaccounted for, authorities confirmed on Monday, marking a somber week since the incident unfolded.

Overnight and into the morning, rescue teams recovered six more bodies from the wreckage in George, a city in the southern region of the country, according to city officials.

Since the sudden collapse of the five-story apartment complex, which was still under construction, last Monday, rescue operations have been underway tirelessly. At the time of the collapse, 81 individuals, primarily construction workers, were present at the site. Remarkably, 29 people have been rescued thus far, including one man who was miraculously extracted from the rubble after enduring 116 hours trapped beneath it.

Western Cape provincial premier Alan Winde described the survivor’s rescue as a “miracle” that many had been fervently hoping for.

Despite ongoing efforts to search every crevice of the devastated structure, the likelihood of finding more survivors diminishes with each passing day.

The George municipality announced that a moment of silence would be observed at 2:09 pm to honor the lives lost exactly seven days after the building’s collapse.

Efforts to expedite the identification of the deceased are underway, with authorities urging relatives to step forward as they encounter challenges in obtaining accurate information on those missing or confirmed deceased.

Frustrations have surfaced among some families due to delays in the identification process. Additionally, the municipality has called for psychologists fluent in languages spoken in neighboring Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe to provide counseling support.

While speculation regarding the nationalities of the workers involved has circulated, authorities have refrained from commenting, emphasizing instead the urgent need for identification and support for affected families.

An inquiry into the cause of the building collapse, which had received planning permission and was slated to accommodate 42 apartments, is ongoing, as the nation grapples with the aftermath of this devastating tragedy.

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