DMGS Centenary building collapse: Federal, state assistance solicited, as 3 persons’re trapped

Three persons were confirmed trapped in the Dennis Memorial Grammar School (DMGS) Centenary building that collapsed about 1:00 am on Wednesday.

In a release issued by the Director of Operations, DMGS Centenary, Mr Chijioke Oji two of the victims were said to be in one location and were deemed in a more difficult situation. The three persons, were, however, later rescued.

The release said at around 6:00 pm, the third person was rescued from the disaster site. The cause of the building collapse is still unknown.

“It is a level III status that poses a risk to life and requires state and federal assistance because the effects of the disaster have overwhelmed the local capacity of the school and the resources deployed by the diocese.

“The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim visited the site and expressed the government’s support.

“No student is affected as they are on the mid-term holidays. Also, no member of staff has been affected. There is no impact on the nearby buildings.

“We have hired equipment to lift and move the rubble and initiated a search and rescue operation. It is a difficult and risky process which is being done with diligence and to the best of our abilities. All volunteers are highly motivated but concern for the well being of the trapped persons increases with each passing hour.

“At present, the only resource from the State and Federal governments is the deployment of the police for crowd control. Despite our frantic efforts, the police in Anambra and all the surrounding states including Rivers do not have sniffer dogs to support the search and rescue operation.

“Our priority remains to ensure the safety of everyone involved, provide medical assistance, and secure the site.

“We are aware of the global concern and sympathy. As events unfold, we will continue to share factual information in a timely manner through the Centenary and DOBA branches and classes Whatsapp network and Dengramites’ world.

“At this critical ‘ time, the crisis management team is focused on the search and rescue operation. We will urge you not to visit the school unless you are able to volunteer subject to the safe deployment.

“We will also engage with other stakeholders, that is, parents, government officials, staff and students, and the wider community, ensuring they are informed and ultimately involved in the recovery process.

“We will aid and expedite the conduct of a thorough investigation into the cause of the collapse, with transparency and accountability.

“The Chairman of the Anambra State Physical Planning Board (ANSPPB) visited today and initiated the statutory collation of information.

“We are committed to provide support to affected individuals and their families.

“There is a high level of media interest because of the scale of the disaster and the high profile of DMGS and the DMGS Centenary project. Members of the DMGS family and the public are advised to be mindful of the veracity of information they receive through media statements and social media.

“DMGS and DMGS Centenary have an enviable record of transparency and commitment to health and safety. You can trust the information we share.

“DMGS will rise from this disaster. Following the investigations, the cornerstone will be to conduct a thorough review of the incident, identifying areas for improvement and implementing changes to prevent similar incidents in the future.

“It is early to develop a plan to rebuild but we pledge that any lesson learnt from the investigation will be religiously applied to ensure the highest safety standards and quality construction, “the release concluded.

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