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South Africa; dozens of people trapped in debris in a building collapse

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Dozens of people were trapped and injured after a building under construction collapsed in South Africa on Monday, according to local media reports.

The multi-story building collapsed on Monday afternoon in the coastal city of George, about 400 kilometers east of Cape Town, in the Western Cape province, leaving at least 46 people trapped in the debris.

While there were no immediate reports of fatalities, local media said that 22 people had been rescued from the site, some of them sustaining serious injuries.

“The collapse occurred just after 2 p.m. today, May 6, with a construction crew of about 70 on site,” said a statement issued by the municipal government of George on its official website.

“Twenty-two patients have been retrieved and sent to hospitals throughout the province,” it said. “Currently, the rescue operation remains underway with over 80 rescue personnel on site.”

In a separate statement, the Western Cape government quoted its premier, Alan Winde, as saying, “All the necessary support has been offered to emergency personnel to expedite their response.”

“At the moment, officials are focused on saving lives. This is our top priority at this stage,” said the statement.

“Further updates will be provided in due course,” it added.

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