George building collapse: Death toll rises to 32, six deceased positively identified

The rescue operations continues in George nine days later. Picture: Herman Pieters

The rescue operations continues in George nine days later. Picture: Herman Pieters

Published May 14, 2024


The George Municipality has confirmed the death toll of the building collapse has now risen to 32.

In its ninth day of rescue operations, emergency services personnel and volunteers have been on site for over 185 hours.

At the time of the building collapse on Monday, May 6, 81 workers were on site, of whom 61 have since been rescued and recovered, 12 are currently hospitalised.

The deceased included 26 men and six women.

So far, only 20 workers are unaccounted for.

The George Municipality spokesperson, Chantel Edwards said it was trying to expedite the plans to identify the deceased.

“We, therefore, endeavour to fast-track the process to help bring closure to families. 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 daily.

“It is confirmed that six of the deceased were positively identified – this information also went through the system,” Edwards said.

She said there is difficulty in obtaining the accurate names of workers who are missing or deceased. Relatives who have lost contact with their loved ones are urged to come to the George Civic Centre in York Street. This would enable the Department of Social Development to collect detailed and precise information, ensuring all records are accurately documented.

“Since the first call for support by Psychosocial Support Practitioners was put out on May 11, 2024, we can confirm that adequate numbers of fluent practitioners in Chewa, Portuguese, and Shona languages are all on-site to address the emotional, social, and overall mental health needs of those affected by the building collapse. Thank you for standing with us during this critical time.” Edwards said.

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