Provincial disaster declared in flood-stricken KZN

Friday, May 3, 2019

The National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) has classified the recent deadly floods in KwaZulu-Natal as a provincial disaster.

The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Ministry declared the disaster following assessment reports received from the KwaZulu-Natal province.

The widespread flooding over the Easter weekend resulted in the loss of 87 lives in three provinces namely KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and the Free State, with 71 lives having been lost in KZN.

In terms of the disaster management legislation, the Premier of a province has the authority to declare a provincial state of disaster following such a classification by national government.

"The NDMC has responded to KZN’s request for classification of disaster and has classified the incident as a provincial disaster.  The province may now declare it as classified,” said Cogta Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a seven-day period of mourning from 1 - 7 May. The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government on 2 May held a provincial day of mourning and prayer to comfort families of the deceased.

“There are various interdepartmental interventions that are underway under the leadership of the NDMC. This includes setting up a Joint Operational Centre, which focused on establishing the technical support needed, and determining who should intervene where,” said Cogta in a statement.

The department is working closely with other departments to ensure that priority post-disaster activities are undertaken. Among the immediate areas of concern is returning families to their homes, and removing debris and rubble to allow movement and access to resources and various facilities.

“Many people lost their civic documents such as IDs and birth certificates for children as well as passports. The Home Affairs Department will provide the necessary support, especially as many people want to be able to vote next week. They should not lose their hard won right to vote because of the floods,” said Mkhize. –