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KZN floods cause damage of over R1bn, province wants disaster declared

The cost of damage to various parts of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) following last week's heavy rains and localised flooding has run into billions of rand, Premier Willies Mchunu said on Monday.

“The estimated damage currently stands at R1.1bn with the eThekwini damage alone estimated at over R685m. Railways, roads, houses full of furniture and personal possession were damaged and at places destroyed entirely,” Mchunu said at his Durban offices.

Mchunu was updating the media about the provincial cabinet’s resolutions relating to the recent floods.

According to Mchunu, the death toll for the floods alone had reached 70 after the body of a young man was recovered in eTshelimnyama near Marianhill.

A total of 1 469 people were displaced and they had to be housed temporarily in community halls or at the homes of their neighbours and relatives, he added.

“Over 50 people were injured and had to be treated in hospital. We continue to search for two citizens who are still missing. Our search and rescue [efforts] are still continuing in this regard.”

Mchunu added that there had been a total of 235 damaged private homes in eThekwini. This figure continues to rise.

“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.”

Declaration of provincial disaster

Mchunu said the provincial executive had resolved to classify the province a disaster area, “because the province alone cannot cope with these incidents”.

“The Provincial Executive has also resolved that relevant stakeholders must ensure infrastructure that will be utilised for elections is restored to normalcy without further delays.”

He also urged the public to attend mortuaries in Gale Street, Pinetown and Phoenix, where dedicated staff have been stationed to assist bereaved families.

“A task team has been appointed to co-ordinate all the support, including the burials. We want to once again request the next of kin of all the deceased to visit the mortuaries for identification process so that there are no delays from the government’s side that will impact on the funeral dates.”

He added that eThekwini metro set up a dedicated support desk at the eThekwini Disaster Management Centre for all the bereaved families.

The support desk has a hotline that can be called on 031 367 0094.

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