13 congregants die as KwaZulu-Natal church building collapses

The rural church on South Africa's eastern coastline was filled with congregants Thursday night for the start of a Passover service to begin Easter week events.

The majority of congregants killed when a wall collapsed at the Pentecostal Holiness Church in Dlangubo were women and a 13-year-old child, Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant confirmed on Friday.

Department spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, said persistent rain in the area may have led to the collapse of the building.

At least 29 people with injuries ranging from serious to minor were taken to hospital for treatment, KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Robert McKenzie said.

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Local officials have blamed the tragedy on heavy rainfall in the area around eMpangeni on Thursday night. There was heavy wind and rain and the walls collapsed.

Government officials, led by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, are on their way to the scene. "We are here to pray with the church, to pray with the families and to offer our support that God may really heal their wounds".

Thirteen worshippers have been killed after the wall of a church where they were taking part in Passover prayers collapsed on top of them. "We pray that the Lord Almighty extends His hand to comfort them and soothe their wounds at this hard time", she said. He said sixteen people were also injured.

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