MECs visit victims of hailstorm

2009-11-30 00:00

MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube is appealing to businesses to come forward and help the government in its relief efforts following recent disasters in KwaZulu-Natal that led to the loss of eight lives and property damage worth millions of rands.

“While we will engage national government to partner with us as a province to provide relief to the victims, we are appealing to businesses to also assist as much as possible,” said Dube. She was speaking after inspecting the damage in Newcastle and surrounding areas, where a hailstorm wreaked havoc on Friday.

At dawn on Saturday, Dube arrived by helicopter in Madadeni and visited the surrounding areas, delivering relief supplies to the victims of the hailstorm. She was accompanied by provincial Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

At least 1 256 people have been affected in the Amajuba (Newcastle) municipal district.

“A team from the disaster management division of the department will continue to assess the extent of the devastation, as the current figures are preliminary,” said Dube.

The affected areas are the whole of Mada­deni township, Mathukuza low-cost housing area, Dannhauser (Groenvlei, where a local police station was also damaged) and rural Madlangeni.

The storm damaged low-cost, government-provided hou­ses and rural dwellings.

People temporarily housed in tents are being provided with blankets and food after a soup kitchen was set up on Friday night.

All departments will co-operate with the Department of Local Government in an effort to ensure that there is temporary relief, while long-term measures are being put in place to restore normality to the area.

Dube said she will prepare a consolidated report on all the di­sasters that recently hit the province for the provincial cabinet to consider on Wednesday.

“We are concerned, as the provincial government, over the latest wave of disasters that have struck KwaZulu-Natal. The government will pull out all stops to assist. Fortunately, we have a provincial disaster management centre and we are rolling out a number of other smaller centres that are located even closer to the various communities, all in an attempt to ensure that we are ready to respond to these disasters,” said Dube.

“Most of these occurrences are na­tural. All we can do is to be ready to assist victims at all times.”

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