FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pietermaritzburg – The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, has assessed the damages caused by heavy rains and strong winds that devastated parts of the province and compiled a preliminary report.
The Provincial Disaster Management Center (PDMC) swiftly responded to the unfortunate incidents, dispatching disaster teams to assess the extent of the destruction caused by the severe weather conditions in Durban Metro and Ugu District Municipality, in the South Coast.
The areas severely affected by the heavy rains and strong winds include Phoenix, Inanda, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, Pinetown and surrounding areas, Folweni, and the north of Durban.
In the Ugu District, the hardest-hit areas were Umzumbe, Umdoni, and Umuziwabantu.
The preliminary reports indicate extensive damage to road infrastructure, electricity, sewer systems, and housing. Many houses suffered roof damage, collapsed walls, and flooding.Regrettably, so far four people have been confirmed to have lost their lives.
Three casualties were reported in the eThekwini Metro, while one person remains missing. Additionally, one fatality and four injuries were reported in the Ugu District Municipality.
Houses in eThekwini Metro bore the brunt of the devastation, with approximately 70 houses completely destroyed and a further 110 houses partially damaged.
This has affected a total of 552 people, leaving 151 individuals homeless. In the Ugu District Municipality, one house was left completely destroyed while three others suffered partial damages affecting 29 people.
One person was left homeless.Schools have been significantly impacted by the adverse weather conditions.
The Pinetown District has reported damages to ten schools, and further assessments are underway in the affected districts to determine the full extent of the damage.The agricultural sector has also suffered losses, with four gardens in Inanda wards 51, 54, and 55 affected. Additionally, approximately 700 chicken broilers in Inanda were adversely affected.
The environmental impact of the heavy rains has resulted in pollution at Blue Lagoon Beach in Durban, caused by debris from the Umgeni River.
The Department, in partnership with eThekwini, is facilitating the cleaning of the beach, which may temporarily lead to its closure. No reports have been received thus far regarding the affected business sector.In response to the destruction, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, through the Provincial Disaster Management Centre, has provided immediate relief materials to the affected victims.
This includes over 300 food parcels, 2750 blankets, 5500 plastic sheetings, and 550 emergency boxes (Box B) as part of the winter contingency planning across all districts and the metro.
The Provincial Disaster Management Centre maintains additional immediate relief materials to offer further support.Community-based structures, such as Ward Committees, Community Development Workers (CDWs), Traditional Leaders, and OSS War Rooms, have been activated and play a crucial role in disseminating weather forecast awareness messages through loud hailing to mitigate severe impacts. Mop-up campaigns are being coordinated with municipalities to clean the affected areas promptly.
To aid in the recovery efforts and restore normalcy, state institutions such as Eskom have been mobilized to assist in repairs. Eskom, along with the Municipal Electrical Department, has been activated to restore power to the affected areas.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the Department of Social Development (DSD) have also been activated to work with municipal disaster management teams, expediting profiling and immediate relief efforts for the affected families. Social workers are on standby, ready to provide psycho-social support services, social welfare assistance, and child protection services. Provincial and municipal emergency services, including the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI), Emergency Medical Services (EMS), South African Police Service (SAPS), Metro Police, and Search and Rescue teams, have been activated and are prepared to respond swiftly to any emergencies.
Other provincial line function departments, such as Human Settlements, Education, Health, Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), and Transport, have also been activated and advised to implement their respective contingency plans to ensure immediate repair of damaged public infrastructure.
As the KwaZulu-Natal province, we are experiencing firsthand the true effects of climate change during the winter season.
Municipalities and sector departments are currently conducting assessments to determine the magnitude of the damages and identify necessary interventions.
The mobilization of additional volunteers through community-based structures is underway to reach all affected communities for damage assessments.
Issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.