- At least 341 lives have been lost and 40 723 people affected as a result of the heavy downpours and floods in KwaZulu-Natal.
- KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says the magnitude of the damage, which is still being quantified, will definitely run into billions of rand.
- Zikalala adds the provincial executive council has announced a provincial day of prayer.
With more than 300 lives lost and 40 723 people affected as a result of the heavy downpours and floods in KwaZulu-Natal, the eThekweni Municipality says it is prepared as more rainfall is expected in the province at the weekend.
“In terms of the readiness for the weekend, we can perhaps say that we are ready, but it also depends on the magnitude of floods that come.
“We will say that we are ready, but equally, we will call on all people, especially those who are residing on the banks of rivers or in areas which are wetlands, to relocate, when the rains start, to upper areas where they will be safe.
“This is perhaps one of the biggest disasters in the living memory of our province. The level of devastation of human life, infrastructure, and service delivery networks in the province is unprecedented,” KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said during a media briefing on Thursday night.
Zikalala announced 341 people had died, and 55 injuries had been recorded.
He said they were still tallying the number of missing people.
According to Zikalala, more than 248 schools have been damaged.
He said members of the provincial executive council had joined mayors and councillors in responding and leading interventions in affected districts on Thursday.
Zikalala added roads in the province have taken “a huge battering”.
He said significant and strategic routes affected include Bay Head, the N2, and N3 to Durban.
“We have proceeded with emergency work to clear roads and return access to highways such as N2, N3, and other important networks. More and more areas are becoming accessible and enabling the speed of emergency relief supply.
“Priority is also being given to township roads where the entry and exit point have been cut off due to roads and bridges being severely damaged. The road has collapsed at the Umlazi split between [the] M1 Higginson highway and the Umlazi split.”
Zikalala added they needed more TLBs (tractor-loader-backhoes), excavators, and other equipment to assist in different areas.
“The Department of Transport has committed to support with some of its heavy fleet to accelerate the process of clearing of roads and creating alternative routes to affected residents.”
He said psycho-social support and social relief of distress, including food, vouchers, and blankets, were being offered through the Department of Social Development to bereaved and affected families.
“Municipalities will announce on burial assistance to the bereaved families who need support. The provincial executive council has announced a provincial day of prayer.
“May God hear our prayers and comfort and heal our families in pain. This is a time for us to demonstrate to our citizens and the world that we are a great people who can overcome any adversity with courage and dignity.”