R18m to help storm victims

Mhlaba Memela

Hundreds of victims of the ferocious storms that recently battered large parts of KwaZulu-Natal have been thrown a lifeline.

Mike Mabuyakhulu, the MEC for local government, housing and traditional affairs, yesterday announced his department had set aside more than R18million to help displaced storm victims.

This comes after hundreds of families in the province were left homeless.

On Monday their numbers were swelled in Utrecht in northern KwaZulu-Natal when the town was pounded by more heavy storms.

At least five people have been killed and the areas of Vryheid, Ladysmith and Ixopo have been devastated by the rains that have lashed large swathes of the province.

Mabuyakhulu said his department aimed to rehabilitate people's lives as well.

"The money would be used to help 123 families from Newcastle, 250 from Utrecht and at least 30 from Vryheid whose houses were destroyed," he said.

Mabuyakhulu said the government had moved swiftly to provide emergency help to more than 150 families from the UThukela district whose homes were destroyed at the weekend as well as 30 households that were hit by the storm in Utrecht.