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SA dispatches body identification expert to Lagos

The South African government has sent officials to Lagos to help with the body identification process.

Rescue efforts underway in Lagos, Nigeria where at least 67 South Africans have been killed after the collapse of a building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations. Picture: AF

PRETORIA - Government has dispatched an internationally recognized body identification expert to Lagos, Nigeria to help with the repatriation of the victims of a building collapse disaster.

The number of unaccounted for and presumably dead South Africans remains at 84.

At the time of the collapse on 12 September, 349 citizens were visiting the Synagogue Church of All Nations.

Brigadier Helena Ras has consulted across the globe on disaster management and is an expert in body identification.

She is part of a team of assessment, medical, forensic and social development officials sent by government to Lagos.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says due to the nature and extent of the tragedy, the process of identifying remains requires meticulous attention to detail.

He says family members of the victims have been contacted and arrangements made for them to participate in the identification process.

Meanwhile, the second phase of the probe into the tragedy continues.

The chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on the Environment Tobun Abiodun has blamed officers in charge of physical planning for the deadly collapse saying they neglected their duty of monitoring buildings.

In the meantime, spokesman of the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) Ibrahim Farinloye has told Eyewitness News that details of the data obtained from the victims will be released soon.

"As I understand, the minister of health is going about it and they are going to give the data of the victims in detail at their own time."