At least 13 people have died and many were injured when a wall collapsed at a Pentecostal church in South Africa in the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal shortly after 10pm on Thursday.
The congregants were inside the building attending a Passover service. “This happened as congregants were preparing to rest, when a large part of the front wall collapsed, causing the traumatic disaster. Most of the deceased church members come largely from three areas: six are from Ulundi, four from Esikhawini, and three from Maqhwakaza,” Labor minister Mildred Oliphant said. The majority of the deceased are women and a child of 13 years. Six people had serious injuries.
The wall at the front of the Pentecostal Holiness Church collapsed at the start of what had been planned as a weekend-long service to commemorate the Christian festival of Easter. Labor Minister Mildred Oliphant who is a member of the church was planning to attend the Good Friday service there. A heavy storm that affected the area was blamed for the incident. Local officials told that the church had "a solid structure". KZN premier Willies Mchunu had called for a full investigation into the collapse. The South African Council of Churches (SACC) in Gauteng has sent its condolences to the families of the 13 congregants who died.