Mop up operations continue across KZN

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Mop up operations continue across KwaZulu-Natal following heavy rains, which wreaked havoc in various parts of the province.

Last Monday’s heavy rains, accompanied by strong winds, wreaked havoc in various parts of the province, affecting the districts of  eThekwini Metro, Ilembe, King Cetshwayo, Umzinyathi, Amajuba and Umkhanyakude District Municipalities.

At least 11 people lost their lives, including seven people from uThongathi in the north of Durban, and four in Nquthu, Eshowe and KwaHlabisa, respectively.

Over 55 people were also reported to have suffered minor to moderate injuries and are receiving medical treatment in hospital.

The storm also left extensive damage to schools and power lines, leaving many parts of eThekwini without electricity.

The eThekwini Metro was hardest hit, with dozens of people treated for injuries in health care facilities.

The eThekwini Municipality said relief intervention in the form of food, blankets, mattresses and building material is underway to assist displaced residents in eMagwaveni, uThongathi. 

“eThekwini teams and volunteers are working together to clear debris in preparation for rebuilding. Water standpipes and water tankers have been provided to ensure an interim water supply. The restoration of electricity is also in progress,” the municipality said.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) has also deployed community works participants playing a crucial role in helping affected families.

KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC, Nonhlanhla Khoza and eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, has also conducted an assessment on the restoration of basic services in eMagwaveni, uThongathi.

Khoza said social workers have been deployed to provide relief and support, including assistance with important documents and school uniforms for affected learners.

“Partnerships with organisations like the Hollywood Foundation and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) ensured immediate aid, including meals and shelter in community halls. 

“The government pledged to construct proper homes for victims and increase disaster relief coordination efforts. Despite ongoing relief efforts, more aid is needed for affected areas like uThongathi, Osizweni, and Eshowe,” Khoza said.

Other interventions include assessment of the families who have lost loved ones and construction of temporary residential units (TRUs) for displaced families. Debris and fallen trees on the roads has been cleared; and electricity supply has been restored to certain areas.

A command centre has also been established on site to assist community members, and Social Relief of Distress grants are being disbursed by SASSA and the Department of Social Development.

Relief, in the form of building material, food, blankets and mattresses is being provided to residents of uMgababa, Ward 98, who were also affected by the heavy rains and strong winds.

eThekwini Deputy Mayor, Zandile Myeni, and Chairperson of the Governance and Human Capital Committee, Nkosenhle Madlala, recently visited the area to assess the extent of the damage.

About 30 families from the area lost their homes to the storm. While injuries were reported, no deaths have been recorded in the area.

Myeni said eThekwini Municipality, including provincial government, non-profit and non-governmental organisations are working together to provide relief to the affected families, and work to restore services is also underway.

Jozini Municipality responds to tornado disaster

Meanwhile, Jozini Local Municipality Mayor, Mfananaye Mathe, visited the KwaJobe area in northern KwaZulu-Natal to address the aftermath of a devastating tornado that struck the area leaving more than 59 families displaced.

The Gumede family, where nine children aged between four and 10, along with their grandmother, saw their RDP house collapse while they were inside. 

Two of the children are hospitalised, with one admitted at Obonjeni Hospital and the other at Ngwelezane Hospital in Mpangeni.

Mathe has provided essential supplies, including groceries, blankets, and sleeping sponges to support the affected families. 

The Jozini Local Municipality Disaster Management Team has also supplied temporary tents to all those impacted by the tornado.

While acknowledging the challenges in providing immediate assistance to everyone, Mathe emphasised the municipality's commitment to swiftly intervening where possible. 

The mayor also expressed his gratitude to the Department of Community Services for its ongoing support during this crisis. –