Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa has said 67 South African citizens died in the building collapse that occurred at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“This is a particularly difficult time for South Africa. Not in the recent history of our country have we had this large number of our people die in one incident outside the country. Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues that have lost their loved ones in this heart-breaking tragedy. The whole nation shares the pain of the mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who have lost their loved ones. We are all in grief,” Zuma said.
The South African President said he had directed various government departments to ensure that relatives of the deceased were taken to Nigeria to identify the body of their loved ones, adding that the government will ensure that the bodies were repatriated as soon as possible.
Zuma thanked the families of the deceased and the Nigerian government also extending his condolences to Nigeria and all other nations affected by this tragedy.
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, said yesterday that 63 bodies have so far been retrieved from the rubbles as at 8.15pm, while the total number of survivors has increased to 131. NEMA said sniffer dogs aided yesterday’s recoveries.
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