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President to visit George disaster site

President Cyril Ramaphosa will visit the site in George this week where a five-storey building under construction collapsed.

The presidential stopover on Thursday 16 May will include a visit to the Garden Route Disaster Joint Operations Centre (JOC), where Ramaphosa will meet with families of some of the estimated 81 people who were on site when the building collapsed last week Monday.

“This will be followed by a media doorstop opportunity at the George Civic Hall around noon,” presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said.

“Since the fatal incident on Monday 6 May, the government and its disaster management agencies at all levels have mobilised personnel and resources towards the rescue efforts and providing support to the survivors and families of the deceased.

“President Ramaphosa remains deeply attentive to the rescue and recovery efforts underway and has expressed his deep condolences to the family and friends of the deceased workers,” said Magwenya.

Ministers and deputy ministers in the departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Employment and Labour, Health, Police, International Relations and Cooperation, and Public Works and Infrastructure have all visited the site.

All these departments have been working collaboratively with the Disaster JOC, the Western Cape provincial government and the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM).

“Rescue and recovery efforts are nearing the end of day eight following the incident at 75 Victoria Street. Rescue workers and other role-players have been on site of the collapsed building for 214 hours,” according to a GRDM statement at noon on Wednesday.

The latest confirmed statistics for the incident are:

* Total estimated individuals on site when the incident occurred: 81

* Rescued and recovered: 62

* Deceased: 33 (27 men, 6 women)

* Currently hospitalised: 12

* Unaccounted for: 19

As of Wednesday, 47 victims have been linked to their families. The Western Cape Department of Social Development said a wide range of services will be available to the affected families for at least six months.

Pictured above: Volunteers and emergency workers with Western Cape Premier Alan Winde – one of several high-ranking politicians and officials who have visited the disaster site.

Image source: Garden Route District Municipality