KZN floods: Death toll up to 85

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A local resident stands over debris at the Quarry road informal settlement after torrential rains and flash floods in Durban. (AFP)
A local resident stands over debris at the Quarry road informal settlement after torrential rains and flash floods in Durban. (AFP)

The death toll following severe localised flooding and heavy rains in KwaZulu-Natal is up to over 80 deaths, officials have said.

MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube said that eThekwini Metro, Ugu and King Cetshwayo District were the most affected.

She said that including the Easter weekend church tragedy in Empangeni, the death toll had jumped to a whopping 85 and had been verified by officials on the ground including police.

"If you combine the number of deaths through the unfortunate disaster incidents since the Easter weekend church tragedy and the recent storms that give the total of 85 deaths. We deeply mourn the loss of our fellow citizens."

Dube-Ncube said there were still active search and rescue sites including one at Tshelimyama in Hillcrest where a vehicle was washed away and one at Mega Philani Bridge in Umlazi where a person was swept away.

She said they were also looking into reports on a missing person at Silverglen and a report on a person believed to have drowned in the Inanda dam.

Dube-Ncube said the floods "inflicted untold damage on the public and private infrastructure" and that teams were still attempting to quantify the cost of damages.

"This includes visits to households and all sites that have been affected.  We will further communicate on this once the quantification process has been concluded. We have given the teams a short turnaround time for this task."

Interventions for affected families

She added that government had commenced with social relief interventions.

"There are food packages, feeding schemes and school uniforms allowing the affected children to go back to school together with learner support material. We continue to offer counselling services to the bereaved families."

Dube-Ncube said they were also finalising funeral support for to ensure decent burials of the departed.

"The eThekwini Metro has also set up a dedicated support desk at the eThekwini Disaster Management Centre for all the bereaved families."

She said the desk includes a hotline on 031 367 0094.

There were also three mortuaries including Gale Street, Pinetown and Phoenix that have stationed dedicated staff to assist the bereaved families. 

"A task team has been appointed to coordinate all the support including the burials."

She said members of the public who wish to lend a helping hand to victims could send donations to the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) offices at Mkondeni, Pietermaritzburg and to KZN Cogta Mayville offices in Durban.

She said they had also set up a special bank account for donations. Details include: 

ABSA, KZN COGTA DISASTER FUND 2019, 4096334685

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