R40m needed to fix rainstorms damage

MOURNING: Relatives of the three members of the Mkhize family who were killed by lightning grieve at their home in Umbumbulu, in southern KwaZulu-Natal, yesterday following heavy rainstorms in the province. Pic: THULI DLAMINI. 18/02/2010. © Sowetan.
MOURNING: Relatives of the three members of the Mkhize family who were killed by lightning grieve at their home in Umbumbulu, in southern KwaZulu-Natal, yesterday following heavy rainstorms in the province. Pic: THULI DLAMINI. 18/02/2010. © Sowetan.

Heavy rains and destructive storms that struck parts of KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday night will cost the province about R40million in repair costs, said the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs.

Heavy rains and destructive storms that struck parts of KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday night will cost the province about R40million in repair costs, said the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs.

MEC Nomsa Dube and uMkhambathini municipality mayor Thobile Maphumulo yesterday visited the Mkhize family, three of whose members were killed by lightning, which also injured four people.

As relief workers and government officials continued with relief efforts throughout the province, it is estimated that there were 917 affected households. More than 160 houses were completely destroyed and 753 partially damaged, leaving 31 people seriously injured.

Jabulile Mkhize, 50, her daughter Buyisiwe, 19, and her two-year-old grandson Mpilonhle Mkhize died instantly after being struck by lightning on Tuesday night.

Dube said her department, in conjunction with uMkhambathini municipality, would help the Mkhize family with burial arrangements and rebuilding of their home. They also provided food and clothing.

"We are appealing to the business community and other organisations to come on board as these disaster incidents are increasingly happening too often.

"Government cannot fight and win the battle alone," said Dube.

She said the completely destroyed houses would cost the province about R9million to fix, schools in need of repairs would cost about R4,1million, infrastructure repairs would cost about R4million, while bridges at Nkandla would need to be upgraded for close to R7million.

"Major accidents have been experienced since January in Amajuba, Umzinyathi, Mgungundlovu, Zululand and uGu district municipalities," Dube said yesterday.

Meanwhile, mayor Maphumulo said: "We couldn't fold our arms when disaster struck.

"It is human and in our culture to be with the bereaved family to give spiritual support and let them know that they are not alone."

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