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SEVERE RAINS EXPECTED IN KZN THIS WEEKEND, COGTA MEC HLOMUKA ORDERS HIGH ALERT FOR DISASTER TEAMS

KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has directed disaster management teams across the province to be on high alert as more rains are expected this weekend in the northern parts of KZN.

The latest report received from the South African Weather Service indicates that there is a severe risk of flooding due to the tropical storm that is expected to descend on the province this weekend.

Currently, disaster management teams are dealing with floods in the uThukela district where towns, such as Ladysmith and Winterton, have seen their roads flooded as a result of the persistent heavy rains.

Engineers in both these towns are working to resolve some of the challenges posed by the build-up of water.

In Ladysmith displaced residents have been provided with shelter in the indoor sports complex. Community halls have been opened in all the affected areas.

A Joint Operations Committee for Disaster Management in the uThukela District is meeting daily to devise a way to mitigate the impact of the flooding and to prevent any loss of life should the water level continue to increase.

Hlomuka has deployed disaster management teams to all affected areas within the uThukela district to provide interim relief to communities.

The MEC has also appealed to residents to continue to exercise extreme caution as the coming rains could exacerbate the current situation with a number of areas and communities facing the prospect of floods.

So far, KZN has lost eight lives as a result of the inclement weather conditions that started on 24 January due to tropical depression Eloise. The fatalities include a 3-year-old child that was swept away when her mother was crossing a river in Ulundi.

Hlomuka has directed disaster management teams to work closely with community structures, such as ward committees and traditional councils, to ensure that residents in areas that face the risk of flooding are sufficiently warned and assisted should the need arise.

The department will be continuing to monitor these developments and communicate any new measures to communities.