Defence Force KZN flood rescue mission gains momentum

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) will incrementally deploy 10 000 troops to flood-hit areas in KwaZulu-Natal, as government’s rescue mission gains momentum.

This was on Thursday revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele during a Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster briefing on Thursday.

He said as rescue and recovery efforts continue, more bodies are being recovered around Umzinyathi, Hammersdale, Reservoir Hills, Hamburg and Henley Dam areas.

The SANDF is rendering assistance under Operation CHARIOT, which is a registered effort by the military to provide humanitarian and disaster relief assistance to all South Africans in times of need.

“As we speak, the SA Army is assisting the disaster management efforts and activities that include protection, support to mop-up work, extraction, technical assessments, transportation of humanitarian relief equipment and goods,” said Cele.

The Minister said the SA Army will from today, as a matter of priority, work on restoring the vehicle/pedestrian bridge in Nteke.

“Soldiers will also provide clean drinking water to Pinetown West, uMzimnyathi and Tongaat communities using the military’s water provisioning system, and providing water sachets to affected people.

“A water purification system will be set up along the Inanda Dam to expand the SANDF water provision reach. Eight water tankers will be on standby to supply water North of Durban to Tongaat.”

Two platoons are currently part of the rescue and recovery mission, together with other State agencies involved in this disaster management initiative.

“The Military Police will be escorting convoys delivering humanitarian relief and essential services within the area of operation. The SA Air Force is providing air capabilities to assist with search and rescue and the transportation of humanitarian relief equipment and goods. The SA Navy divers are also part of the search, rescue and recovery effort,” he said.

Above this, Cele said the South African Military Health Service was rendering operational health support in the disaster area of KZN, including provision of ambulances to the SANDF in various positions, as required by the Joint Operation Centre. 

Medical officers, nurses, psychologists, social workers and pharmacists had been dispatched to the disaster areas. –