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KZN flood death toll rises, disaster management on high alert with more rain expected

Nivashni Nair Senior reporter
KwaZulu-Natal cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka said 40,723 people were affected by the heavy rain this week.
KwaZulu-Natal cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka said 40,723 people were affected by the heavy rain this week.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The death toll in the KwaZulu-Natal flood disaster has risen to 395.

On Friday cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka said 40,723 people were affected by the heavy rain which lashed the province this week.

“Sadly, the number of fatalities continues to increase with the latest figure standing at 395, with eThekwini at 355, Ugu at six, uMzinyathi at two, King Cetshwayo at four and Ilembe at 28.”

He said while authorities were focused on relief efforts, more rain was expected over large parts of the province so disaster management teams were on high alert.

“According to the SA Weather Service warning we received, damaging winds are forecast for areas along the coast from midday today into Saturday evening. Disruptive rain is forecast for eThekwini, KwaDukuza, Mkhambathini, Ndwedwe, Ray Nkonyeni, uMdoni and uMzumbe from today until Saturday night.

Debris and rubbish washed up on a beach in Durban during the KwaZulu-Natal floods.
Debris and rubbish washed up on a beach in Durban during the KwaZulu-Natal floods.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

“In line with the operational response provincial disaster management plan, the provincial and municipal multi-sectoral disaster management teams are on high alert to swiftly respond to communities known to be at high risk to avert and minimise the disaster impact,” Hlomuka said.

He said the plan detailed clear roles and responsibilities for all relevant stakeholders.

“The objective is to avoid loss of life and human suffering. The early weather warnings issued by the weather service are constantly being circulated to role players and communicated to the general public, together with emergency contact numbers for disaster management centres, via media platforms and loud hailing.

“Communities at high risk of disasters, such as informal settlements and settlements built on steep slopes and flood plains, are of particular concern, as is road infrastructure, such as bridges and courses located in low-lying areas.”

People who need to evacuate will be housed in community facilities such as halls and schools.

“The department of social development, with help from municipalities and social partners (NGOs) will make sure the evacuation centres get food, water, sanitation, clothes, blankets and more,” said Hlomuka.

More than 4,000 law enforcement officers have been deployed to affected areas to support relief efforts and maintain law and order.

TimesLIVE


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