Home South African National State of Disaster in response to KZN floods could last 3...

National State of Disaster in response to KZN floods could last 3 months

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Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said on Tuesday the National State of Disaster could be terminated earlier or extended based on government’s assessment.

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Picture: Siyabulela Duda

THE DEVASTATING impact of the floods in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of the Eastern Cape which led to Cabinet declaring a National State of Disaster, could be in place for up to three months, according to Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

During a media briefing on Tuesday, Dlamini Zuma said the Disaster Management Act allows government to declare a National State of Disaster for a period of three months.

“If it needs to be terminated earlier, it can be. But it also allows for an extension if there is still a need for it.

“The National State of Disaster for Covid-19 was occasioned by a health occurrence, which is the pandemic. The pandemic is a health issue, this is a national disaster [floods] which cuts across almost every sector,” she said.

The Department of Health spokesperson Foster Mohale said the current State of Disaster related to the floods and won’t affect the process for the public to comment on health regulations.

South Africans have until Sunday, 24 April, to submit their comments on the proposed regulations meant to manage the Covid-19 pandemic and other notifiable conditions outside of the National State of Disaster.

“Of course the current disaster will have a negative impact on the vaccination programme since most people in the affected areas are displaced, others are mourning the loss of their loved ones, while a number of health facilities are affected too,” said Mohale.

Over 440 people have lost their lives in KwaZulu-Natal due to the floods and close to 50 people are still missing or unaccounted for. In the Eastern Cape, one death has been reported.

“As the Health Department we support the affected communities’ members like other government departments and non-governmental organizations to ensure people continue to have access to basic health services even in places of safety, and have fresh water to prevent outbreak of other diseases like cholera,” he said.

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