SABC News - KZN govt still assessing damages caused by storm:Wednesday 11 October 2017

KZN govt still assessing damages caused by storm

Wednesday 11 October 2017 19:23

Fanele Mhlongo

The extent of the damage is still yet to be determined.

The extent of the damage is still yet to be determined. (SABC)

The KwaZulu-Natal government says it is still assessing the damage caused by storms that caused havoc in the province. The death toll from Tuesday's devastating storm in KwaZulu-Natal has now risen to 14.

Most of the deaths occurred in areas in and around Durban.

Forty-two schools were damaged, including nine high schools.

The strong wind and heavy rain also caused damage at many health care institutions in and around eThekwini including Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital at Umlazi where two people died when a wall collapsed.

Mopping-up operations are underway across KwaZulu-Natal.

Health MEC Dr Sbongiseni Dlomo, acting Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Weziwe Thusi, Human Settlement MEC Ravi Pillay, eThekwini Municipality Mayor Zandile Gumede, together with government authorities visited the affected areas - including hospitals and schools.

Among the dead are a four-year-old girl from Isipingo and a 12-year-old boy who was swept away in a stream at Izingolweni near Port Shepstone on the south coast.

Police Spokesperson Nqobile Gwala has confirmed the deaths of 11 people while emergency services on Tuesday confirmed the deaths of three others, bringing the total to 14.

“Yesterday (Tuesday), a total number of 11 people died due to the storm and heavy flooding that happened in KZN province. Four died in Isipingo while another four died in Umlazi and another one died in the CBD and others in different areas in Durban like KwaMakhuta, Isipingo, Bayhead and Umlazi. A total of five people are still missing at KwaMakuta, Umbumbulu, Umlazi and Bhekithemba area.”

At some of the health institutions, the roofs were blown away and patients had to be moved into corridors from wards where roofs and windows started leaking.

Medical equipment was also damaged.

Provincial Health MEC Sbongiseni Dlomo says they are assessing the damage.

“We notice that there are six theatres that are affected, but when we went there, there were clean-up operations that were taking place meaning that Theatre 1, 2 and 3 could be functional quite soon after they have actually cleaned up. But they must also do what they call infection control . The other ones will have to wait until the repairs have been done. Meanwhile, there are other theatres in other wings of the hospital that could then be a good back up. So, we may just be down on three theatres now as the situation stands.”

Department of Education Spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi says they are working on plans to accommodate matric learners whose schools were damaged as examinations are starting next week.

“There are schools that are closed, but some are partly in operation. Our infrastructural technical team is on the ground developing a plan as to how to accommodate learners moving forward, especially the nine high schools that are affected given the fact that we are starting the matric exams next week.”

For residents in and around Durban the counting of costs continues. A resident from Woodlands, Lindelwa Kheswa, lost her house during the storm.

She says she has lost everything.

“Maybe over the past five years, the last time the municipality came here, they dug a huge hole here. They said they were fixing the pipes and whilst they were doing that, they actually damaged our house in that process as well as the roof. We tried to claim. They never came to fix that roof and that is where the water actually got through ... those holes that the municipality left behind. That's where the water came through and flooded the entire house. Now, we are homeless thanks to Ethekwini Municipality.”

Acting COGTA MEC Weziwe Thusi says government is committed to provide assistance to all the affected communities.

“Our government is on top of its game on our endeavour to minimise the impact of this storm on our residents and businesses. Many communities have been rendered homeless and some people are still missing. Many people's lives have been interrupted by displacement, power outages and severe damage to both public and private infrastructure.”

The government says they will only know the true figures when all assessments have been completed, but damages are expected to run into millions. Metrorail says trains remain suspended as engineers are still inspecting the railway lines. By late afternoon, the Durban Port had also not been reopened after it was closed due to debris in the water and the unknown position of some containers which had fallen from a ship.

Share this page: Printer friendly version