Home South African KZN floods: Death toll rises to 448 as clean-up operations continue

KZN floods: Death toll rises to 448 as clean-up operations continue

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Wide extent of damage to state infrastructure revealed by officials

Pupils and staff at Brettonwood High school took it upon themselves to help clean the school which is amongst those that were badly flooded in Durban. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

PREMIER Sihle Zikalala paid tribute to the search-and-rescue teams that are still searching for bodies reported missing during the floods that claimed 448 lives in KwaZulu-Natal.

Storms in parts of KZN resulted in major damage to infrastructure such as roads, bridges, reticulation networks and also to residential homes, businesses and public buildings.

Zikalala and the MEC of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sipho Hlomuka, met with all disaster management teams on Tuesday at Virginia Airport, which is the command centre and heart of KZN’s disaster response operations. More than 185 rescue operations have taken place. To date, 630 schools have been affected. A total of 8,329 houses were partially damaged, 3,937 were completely destroyed, and affected households totalled 13,556.

Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala at the Virginia Airport which is the Command Centre and heart of KZN’s disaster response operations. Picture supplied

On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster because of the torrential rain in KZN and flooding in the Eastern Cape, and indications from the SA Weather Service are that North West and Free State may also be affected by bad weather that would require emergency intervention.

Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, Deputy Minister Noxolo Kiviet, KZN MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Jomo Sibiya, the head of Infrastructure South Africa and the heads of various entities of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) laid bare the impact of the floods on state-owned buildings.

“We have formed a multi-disciplinary team of built environment professionals such as engineers, architects and quantity surveyors to assist with the assessments and plan of action for repairs under DPWI’s responsibilities,” De Lille said.

Fifty state-owned buildings under the custodianship of the DPWI have been damaged. These include 27 magistrate’s courts, 11 police stations, 11 military bases and one museum. The damage includes leaking roofs and flood damage to infrastructure.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, MEC Sipho Hlomuka conducted an inspection of 25 water tankers that are being donated by the provincial government to affected municipalities to provide water relief to communities in eThekwini and King Cetshwayo municipalities. Also over 100 JoJo tanks to the eThekwini metro along with the Ilembe, Ugu Districts and Msunduzi municipality. Picture supplied

De Lille said that procurement for material for 20 buildings would start this week. A number of buildings at the Air Force base in Durban were damaged, leaving the base without electricity or water.

The DPWI and KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport signed a memorandum of understanding to install bridges in the province. Eighteen bridges were planned for 2022/23. These were planned for before the floods.

Of the 18 bridges, nine that had been planned for the financial year are in affected areas. Due to the flooding, the KZN Department of Transport has submitted an additional six bridge sites, and the number is expected to grow.

The areas where bridges will be installed in the coming weeks include the Mvoti, Ilembe, Ndwedwe, Mkhambathini and eThekwini municipalities.

A total of 24 bridges are to be constructed in KZN in the 2022/23 financial year. Various reports were also sent to Infrastructure South Africa on affected roads.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa visited hip-hop music producer Nathi Majola, who lost his father, Bongani Majola, 62, mother Dudizile Majola, 60, and his 15-year-old brother, Andile Majola, in Durban.

Speaking to the Daily News, Majola said he did not know how he survived after a mudslide covered them. He said they were doing work outside with his father and his younger brother when the massive mudslide engulfed them, killing the three family members instantly.

Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala and the MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka at the Virginia Airport in Durban. Picture supplied

BEACH CLEAN-UP

Meanwhile, about 31,600 bags of litter have been collected over the past three days at beach clean-ups held across the Durban beachfront and eThekwini Municipality region. The city released the following statistics:

On April 15, 8,800 bags were collected from Pipeline and Toti beaches. About 2,700 bags were collected south of Toti Beach.

A simultaneous clean-up was held along the central beaches, where 230 bags were collected at the Bluff beaches, and 1,100 bags were collected along the beachfront.

On April 16, 5 100 bags were collected along the Pipeline and Toti beaches, while 4 100 bags were collected south of Toti Beach.

A further 280 bags were collected at Bluff beaches, while 500 bags of rubbish were collected along the beachfront. On April 17, 4,000 bags were collected along the Pipeline and Toti beaches, while 1,600 bags of rubbish were collected south of Toti Beach.

An additional 190 bags were collected at Bluff beaches on the same day, while 1,200 bags were collected from the beachfront.

And on April 18, 300 bags of litter were collected at Bluff beaches while 1,500 bags collected from the beachfront.

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