Benjamin Okoli, the President of the Nigerian Citizens Association of South Africa (NICASA) has said that no Nigerian was affected in a fire incident that occurred in South Africa’s city of Johannesburg on Thursday, August 31.
A five-story building in the city centre, which was predominantly inhabited by homeless South Africans gutted fire in the early morning of Thursday as no fewer than 70 people have died while more than 50 were injured in the fire incident.
The cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained at the time of filing this report.
Confirming the incident, the president of NICASA, Benjamin Okoli said it was a massive fire but no Nigerian was involved in the unfortunate incident.
He said: “No Nigerian was affected in the incident. No Nigerian leaves there. No single African migrant besides South Africans that leaves there.”
According to a BBC report, authorities said that firefighters evacuated the building’s occupants on arrival, and the search and recovery of bodies is ongoing.
Among those killed were seven children, including a one-year-old baby, South Africa’s Times Live news site quotes Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi as saying.
He added that 52 people were being treated for injuries.
Mulaudzi said. “Firefighter crews are damping down. EMS will conduct preliminary investigations to determine what caused the fire after firefighting operations are done.”
Meanwhile, the survivors of the fire who are now rendered homeless would be housed in another building that is also owned by the city of Johannesburg, a government official has said.
“About 300 people (141 households) are displaced, including the 49 in hospital and will be housed in another building owned by the City of Johannesburg,” Lebogang Maile said on X (formerly known as Twitter).
Maile also said an intergovernmental team would provide survivors and victims’ families with psychological and social services, support in arranging funerals for victims, and help with other necessities.
Describing the incident, Johannesburg Emergency Services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi told local media: “I’ve never seen anything like this in my 22 years or service in this city.”
Officials said each floor resembled an informal settlement… rescue workers are combing through partitions resembling shacks, searching for survivors – and more fatalities.
Some of those who escaped have camped outside the building waiting for news of their relatives, others are waiting to see what of their belongings can be salvaged.Follow us on social media