JOHANNESBURG, October 12 – The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government on Wednesday, counted the cost of the mega-storm that hit the province which claimed the lives of at least eight people and saw many displaced.
“We are taking stock of yesterday’s mega-storm and streamlining our joint efforts as provincial and local government to begin with clean-up operations. We wish to assure the communities that our government is on top of its game in our endeavour to minimise the impact of this storm on our residents and businesses,” acting KZN MEC of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Weziwe Thusi said.
“A total of 42 schools in KZN were gravely affected by the storm and nine of these are high schools where there are upcoming matric examinations. Plans are however underway to ensure that pupils from all affected schools will be able to sit their exams as per the set schedule and the Department of Education will be communicating directly with the learners and parents.”
The provincial government said it was working with the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality and other affected municipalities to alleviate the impact of the mega-storm on Tuesday, to bring back normalcy to those affected.
Cogta said that at least eight people were killed and several people were left homeless.
“Many people’s lives have been interrupted by displacement, power outages and severe damage to both public and private infrastructure. In addition, KZN’s schools and hospitals have experienced serious interruptions to their operations,” the department said.
“The torrential rain has also caused enormous damage to healthcare institutions largely in the eThekwini metro, including Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, RK Khan Hospital, Wentworth Hospital, St Aidans Hospital, King Edward Hospital, Clairwood Hospital, and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital. All affected patients have been moved to safe premises.”
The provincial government was appealing to all private sector insurance companies to expedite the processing of claims to assist clients.
Government would also assess the extent of damages to make a determination on formal declaration of disaster areas if it is deemed necessary in terms of the applicable legislation, Cogta said.
“The extent of damage to public and private infrastructure in KZN includes flooded and blocked roads, 19 collapsed buildings and perimeter walls, blocked storm water drains and sewer lines, flooded buildings and households and power outages as a result of electric cable damage. We are currently assisting all displaced communities and working on all necessary repairs,” said Thusi.
“Unfortunately, we have also experienced incidents where some people used social media for the wrong reasons to disseminate and distribute various hoaxes. We strongly condemn such practices as they cause unnecessary panic. Members of the public are therefore urged to desist from distributing unverified information about the mega-storm, its impact and the clean-up operations.”
KZN Premier Willies Mchunu is expected to meet with bereaved families in Durban on Thursday.
On Tuesday, the harbour city of Durban was flooded by heavy rains that caused the death of one policeman and extensive damage to roads, buildings, and motor vehicles. Images of the deluge and floods were posted on social media.
Poor drainage of the city’s roads compounded the problems as Durban was also battered by winds of more than 70km/h. King Shaka International Airport experienced wind speeds up to 120km/h. The roofs of some buildings flew off, and shipping containers and even trucks teetered tottered and fell over, causing another level of danger and putting lives at risk.