The death toll from the Nigerian church collapse has now increased to 115 people, with 84 of them South Africans, a South African minister said yesterday, citing sources in Lagos.
“We understand from our assessment team that the total number of people who have perished is now 115, but those are not all South Africans,” said Jeff Radebe, the minister in charge of Pretoria’s response to the disaster.
The casualties include 84 South Africans, said Radebe, speaking after around two dozen injured survivors were repatriated home.
Ten days after the disaster, Nigerian officials struggled to immediately confirm the death toll.
“There could have been additional deaths on arrival at the hospitals,” suggested rescuers’ spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye, of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
He said it was now up to the Church and the various embassies to give the exact final toll.
The 26 survived after being trapped under rubble when a guesthouse attached to the Church run by a prominent Nigerian preacher TB Joshua collapsed more than a week ago.
Mr. Farinloye said the first investigation meeting would be held today, involving state and federal bodies as well as engineers to assess the collapse, its causes and determine next steps.