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South African death toll in TB Joshua church collapse in Nigeria rises

By Crystal Oderson in Cape Town
Posted on Friday, 19 September 2014 09:29

South Africa’s high commissioner in Nigeria, Lulu Louis Mnguni confirmed the death toll from the collapse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) guest house was now more than the 67 announced by President Jacob Zuma.

Search operations have been called off with authorities in Lagos saying they had done all that they could do to find any survivors since the collapse a week ago.

The government said 349 South Africans traveled to the SCOAN services last week. The SCOAN belongs to popular televangelist, Temitope Balogun TB Joshua.

It has been heartbreaking tragedy for families desperate to find out more information of loved ones who headed to the popular church.

“The number has risen to 84,” Mnguni told local media on Friday morning.

Mnguni, said the search for those unaccounted for had been called off; and those people were now presumed dead.

On Thursday, the South African government sent a specialised forensic unit to Lagos to help identify locals who died in the incident.

Meanwhile, Zuma appointed a special inter-ministerial task team led by the Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe.

Other members of the team include ministers of International Relations and Cooperation and Military Veterans.

The team would lead government efforts in supporting the families and doing whatever is necessary to manage the impact of the tragedy.

Zuma urged all South Africans to provide all possible support to the affected families.

A team has also arrived in Lagos to conduct an assessment on the ground as a matter of urgency.

It would give feedback to government on necessary arrangements to be made to treat or bring home the injured.

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