KwaZulu-Natal floods classified as a provincial disaster
The National Disaster Management Centre falling under the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) has classified the catastrophic floods incident that devastated KwaZulu-Natal as a provincial disaster, after assessing the situation and the reports received from the KZN province.
The widespread flooding over the Easter weekend resulted in the loss of 87 lives in three provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and the Free State provinces, with 71 lives having been lost in KZN.
These incidents also inflicted massive damages to critical public and private infrastructure, including health and educational facilities as well as road and railway infrastructure across the three provinces, most notably in KZN and the Eastern Cape.
“In terms of the disaster management legislation, the Premier of a province has the authority to declare a provincial state of disaster following such a classification by national government. The NDMC has responded to KZN’s request for classification of disaster and has classified the incident as a provincial disaster. The Province may now declare it as classified”, said the Minister of CoGTA, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a seven day period of mourning from 1-7 May 2019. The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government held a provincial day of prayer session in Durban yesterday to comfort the families.
There are various interdepartmental interventions that are underway under the leadership of the NDMC. This includes setting up a Joint Operational Centre, which focused on establishing the technical support needed, and determining who should intervene where.
CoGTA is working closely with other Ministries including human settlements, defence, police, social development, water and sanitation, public works, health, basic education, public enterprises, home affairs and others to ensure that priority post-disaster activities are undertaken.
Among the immediate areas of concern include returning families to their homes, removing debris and rubble to allow movement and access to resources and various facilities. Many people remain cut off from basic amenities because roads and bridges were washed away. Government will prioritise the provision of some infrastructure even if temporary, to enable lives to return to some normality.
Urgent services also include enabling schooling to take place, as well as providing counselling to the people.
“Many people lost their civic documents such as IDs and birth certificates for children as well as passports. The Home Affairs Department will provide the necessary support, especially as many people want to be able to vote next week. They should not lose their hard won right to vote because of the floods,” said Minister Mkhize.