New York, Sept. 2, 2023:The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday expressed his deep sadness at the news of the fire disaster in Johannesburg .
The fire disaster which reportedly happened on Thursday killed 74 people, including 12 children.
The overnight blaze ripped through a five-storey rundown building in the city centre occupied by homeless people and squatters. Dozens were injured.
The building was among many in the downtown area that have been abandoned and “hijacked” by criminal gangs who rent them out to families.
The fire was among the worst in South Africa’s history. President Cyril Ramaphosa, who visited the site, described it as a “tragedy” and “a wake-up call”, according to media reports.
UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, at a press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, said the secretary-general sent his condolences to tne affected people.
“In this moment of great sadness and grief, he conveys his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of South Africa,” Dujarric said.
Guterres also wished a prompt recovery to the injured.
He added that the UN Country Team in South Africa stands ready to work with the authorities to provide assistance to those affected by the fire, and to prevent further incidents of this nature.
President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria had also expressed condolences to the government and people of South Africa, following a tragic fire incident.
Mr Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
“In this moment of tragedy, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families affected by this devastating fire incident.
‘’The extent of this loss is truly profound, and during this challenging time, please be assured that Nigeria stands in unity with you,” he said.