DURBAN – The province of KwaZulu-Natal continues much-needed support from all sectors of our society as it deals with one of the most tragic natural disasters to have ever occurred in the province.
“During this difficult period faced by our country, we wish to express our condolences once more to the families that have been affected by the flooding,” MEC said.
This morning, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Executive, Sub-Committee on Disaster Management convened its daily briefing, where it received updates from the Provincial Disaster Management Centre on the ongoing efforts to provide relief to affected communities.
According to the latest update, the death has increased and currently stands at 398, with 27 people still missing.
The Committee also noted the arrival of additional support from other provinces in the form of specialised Urban Search and Rescue teams that have been based at Virginia Airport and are working closely with the SAPS Search and Rescue and are dispatched through the existing Incident Management System.
The additional teams have started working and have assisted with recoveries.
The air support that has been provided by the South African National Defence Force and the South African Police Service has played a crucial part in the rescue and recovery efforts.
“We wish to commend these brave men and women for their service,” MEC said.
VISIT BY THE NATIONAL MINISTERS:
Yesterday, the province was visited by the Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu, Minister of Transport, Fikile Mabalula and Minister of Human Settlements, Mamoloko Kubayi.
Through the visit, the ministers committed R1 billion which will flow to the Province from the National Department of Human Settlements.
The Department of Water and Sanitation will be assisting the affected municipalities with tankering of water to communities without water. The department has reprioritized R45 million to provide 80 freshwater tankers to the three affected municipalities. These water tankers will supplement the municipalities’ own water tankers, which they are currently using to provide water to communities without water.
Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) will contribute about R30 million of the balance of the retained surplus to the 2020/21 financial year subject to approval by National Treasury.
NHBRC will support the Province in conducting technical assessments to determine the extent of structural damage to homes. In addition, the NHBRC will reprioritise its operational budget to provide for Corporate Social Investment (CSI).
An amount of R100 million from the Residential Rent Relief Grant will be reallocated to the disaster relief endeavours, subject to requisite approval processes.
An amount of R150 million from the Residential Rent Relief Grant will be reallocated to the disaster relief endeavours, subject to requisite approval processes. NHFC will also contribute an additional R 2 million from their corporate social investment (CSI). This means that in total, NHFC will contribute R 152 million. This entity will also avail its project management capacity for the rebuilding and reconstruction of houses in KZN.
The auditor general’s office will work closely with departments to keep a close eye on the utilisation of the resources. The department of monitoring and evaluation will be working closely to monitor both the financial and the non-financial performance of the interventions.
MOP UP OPERATIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE REPAIR
The mop-up operations and repair of damaged infrastructure have commenced in the affected areas across the province with the support of line function departments such as transport.
These repairs and mop-up operations are crucial in efforts to restore access to communities so that our disaster management teams can gain access to the communities most affected.
The inaccessibility of areas puts an additional strain on rescue efforts.
The National Ports Authority has been able to open an alternative route to the Durban Port, on Bayhead Road, for the transportation of essential items such as fuel and food.
ROLLOUT OF SOCIAL RELIEF
Community halls are being used as a shelter for the hundreds of people that have been left destitute as a result of the floods.
Soup kitchens have been set up in partnership with sister departments and non-governmental organisations.
As part of the intervention by the South African Social Services Agency, the value of the cash benefit has now been changed from R700 to R1980 for the disaster cases only where there has been a loss of all the belongings.
Where there is a loss of life, this amount is doubled to the family being assisted.
The value of a normal food voucher has also increased from R700 to R1200 as of the 13th April 2020
LATEST WEATHER WARNINGS
The South African Weather Service has warned of inclement weather conditions in eThekwini, KwaDukuza, Mkhambathini, Ndwedwe, Ray Nkonyeni, uMdoni and uMzumbe today.
Residents in these areas are urged to exercise utmost caution as the heavy rains could trigger more floods and mudslides.
At least 58 healthcare facilities eThekwini, iLembe, Ugu, Umgungundlovu, and King Cetshwayo districts were severely affected by the floods – with most buildings suffering damage to their roof, floors and fencing.
A higher number of trauma and emergency patients than usual has been experienced in hospital and clinics– particularly in the densely populated districts.
Due to the shortage of water and related sanitation challenges, environmental health practitioners are monitoring clinical statistics for early identification of any water-borne or diarrheal diseases.
This includes the inspection of potable water that is being transported by tankers, and in halls where displaced members of the community are being housed.
Damage to critical infrastructure such as roads, water, and power supply systems continues to pose further challenges to the restoration of normal operations at some healthcare facilities.
In the iLembe District, health workers have been experiencing challenges travelling between work and home, and some had to sleep in facilities due to the damage on the roads.
Arrangements to accommodate these staffers at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, St Mary’s Marrianhill, and Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital has been made.
EXTENT OF DAMAGE
Assessments by disaster management teams is ongoing and once the assessment are concluded, the total cost will be shared with the public.
DISASTER FUND ACCOUNT
An account has been set up by the provincial government for those that might want to contribute towards relief efforts