KZN declares Thursday day of prayer and mourning

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Executive Council has declared Thursday as a provincial day of prayer and mourning to show solidarity with the bereaved families and to pray for people who passed away during the flash floods that swept through the province.

This follows the severe storm that hit the province after the Easter weekend, which badly affected various communities in the eThekwini, Ilembe, Ugu and King Cetshwayo municipalities.

Briefing the media on Monday, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu has invited all citizens, including inter-faith formations and all sectors of society, to participate in the day of prayer and mourning.

“The main event will take place at Curries Fountain Sports Field this coming Thursday from 9am. More details will be announced in due course,” Mchunu said.

Mchunu said to date, the number of people reported to have passed away in eThekwini and the neighbouring coastal areas of Ugu and King Cetshwayo Districts has increased to 69.

“The death toll at this point has increased to 69, as [on Sunday] one more body of a young male was recovered in eTshelimnyama near Marianhill. A total of 64 of those who passed away are from the eThekwini metro and five from the Ugu District.

“A total of 1 469 people found themselves displaced by the floods and had to be provided with temporary accommodation in community halls and by their neighbours and relatives. Over 50 people were injured and had to be treated in hospital. We continue to search for the two citizens who are still missing. Our search and rescue is still continuing in this regard,” the Premier said.


Mchunu said the estimated damage to infrastructure, including railways, roads, houses and furniture, and personal possessions, currently stands at R1.1billion, with the eThekwini damage alone estimated at over R685 million.

“We have recorded a total of 235 damaged private homes in eThekwini and this figure continues to rise as new homes are being added to the list. Many families have been rendered homeless. In addition to displacement, many people’s lives were interrupted by power outages, the majority of which have been attended to.”

Government’s intervention

Government continues to respond speedily and has provided immediate humanitarian support in the form of food, blankets, mattresses and other key necessities.

Mchunu said they have also received a lot of support from various NGOs and private sector institutions, which have partnered with government and volunteered their staff to distribute immediate help to citizens.

The eThekwini metro has also set up a dedicated support desk at the eThekwini Disaster Management Centre for all the bereaved families.  The desk includes a hotline -- 031 367 0094.

“Three mortuaries, including Gale Street, Pinetown and Phoenix, have stationed dedicated staff to assist the bereaved families. A task team has been appointed to coordinate all the support, including the burials,” Mchunu said.

The next of kin of all the deceased have been urged to visit the mortuaries for identification process, so that there are no delays from government's side that will impact on the funeral dates.

Documents for victims

Meanwhile, the Department of Home Affairs is currently assisting with the issuing of temporary IDs and certificates, and all relevant documents to all affected family, who will undergo a thorough authentication process.

The South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the Department of Education are supporting victims and ensuring that children get school uniforms.

Mchunu has thanked President Cyril Ramaphosa, who decided to cut short an international mission and return immediately to the country to support the collective response to this national tragedy.

He also thanked humanitarian agencies, media, the national, provincial and local disaster emergency and response teams, and members of the public, who have shown exemplary acts of compassion and care to the victims and affected families. –