At least 11 people have died in KwaZulu-Natal with officials warning the death toll could climb as rescue operations resume on Thursday.
The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government is counting the cost of the storm as mop-up operations continue.
“We are taking stock of Tuesday’s mega-storm and streamlining our joint efforts as provincial and local government to begin with clean-up operations. We wish to assure the communities that our government is on top of its game in our endeavour to minimise the impact of this storm on our residents and businesses,” acting KZN MEC of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Weziwe Thusi said.
“A total of 42 schools in KZN were gravely affected by the storm and nine of these are high schools where there are upcoming matric examinations. Plans are however underway to ensure that pupils from all affected schools will be able to sit their exams as per the set schedule and the Department of Education will be communicating directly with the learners and parents.”
The provincial government said it was working with the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality and other affected councils to alleviate the impact of the mega-storm on Tuesday, to bring back normalcy to those affected.
“Many people’s lives have been interrupted by displacement, power outages and severe damage to both public and private infrastructure. In addition, KZN’s schools and hospitals have experienced serious interruptions to their operations,” the department said.
“The torrential rain has also caused enormous damage to healthcare institutions largely in the eThekwini metro, including Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, RK Khan Hospital, Wentworth Hospital, St Aidans Hospital, King Edward Hospital, Clairwood Hospital, and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital. All affected patients have been moved to safe premises.”
The provincial government was appealing to all private sector insurance companies to expedite the processing of claims to assist clients.
Government would also assess the extent of damages to make a determination on formal declaration of disaster areas if it is deemed necessary in terms of the applicable legislation, Cogta said.
“The extent of damage to public and private infrastructure in KZN includes flooded and blocked roads, 19 collapsed buildings and perimeter walls, blocked storm water drains and sewer lines, flooded buildings and households and power outages as a result of electric cable damage. We are currently assisting all displaced communities and working on all necessary repairs,” said Thusi.