R3.3 billion needed for KZN storm damage

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Fallen trees that had blocked roads during storms
Fallen trees that had blocked roads during storms
Moeketsi Mamane

An estimated R3.3 billion is required to address the effects of the recent storms that ravaged KwaZulu-Natal and claimed 25 lives.

This emerged during the KZN provincial executive council special meeting which took place on Thursday.

During the meeting, chaired by the Premier Sihle Zikalala, the cabinet decided to request the national government’s classification of a state of disaster in parts of the province affected by storms and floods.

This would allow access to emergency funds but also empower the province to reallocate existing budgets and grants to address urgent needs.

A disaster management sub-committee report tabled before the cabinet detailed the trail of destruction left in the wake of the storms, which besieged most parts of KZN. These affected homes, schools, roads, farms and other critical infrastructure.

Provincial government spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, said according to incidents logged with the provincial disaster management centre during the festive season of 2021/22 over the period November-December 2021 and January 2022, there were approximately 205 incidents of strong winds, lightning, structural fires, heavy rains, hailstorm, structural collapse 16 drownings in KwaZulu-Natal.

He said the inclement weather impacted 2 068 households and 10 972 people.

“At least 773 houses were totally destroyed, and 2095 houses were partially destroyed. Unfortunately, 25 people lost their lives as a result of lightning and drowning incidents and one person is still missing,” said Mabaso

He said the provincial executive also received a report that a total of 186 schools had been affected which was the main concern as most schools in KwaZulu-Natal resume their academic year on Monday, January 18.

“The province is currently working around the clock to ensure that affected schools have adequate accommodation for learning and administrative purposes.

“The number of roads and bridges damaged will require betterment and re-gravelling, new bridges, causeways, pothole repairs and drainage improvements,” said Mabaso.

In the meantime, he said, the provincial government has appointed the Independent Development Trust (IDT) to conduct urgent repairs to schools and where necessary, supply mobile classrooms as temporary relief.

He said the provincial government has developed a plan to provide urgent interventions to the affected families in various affected districts in KZN.

“Where necessary food parcels, school uniform, cooked meals and temporary shelters have also been provided.

“The provincial Department of Human Settlements has started implementing interventions in line with the beneficiary lists for temporary residential accommodation and/or provision of building material to the affected households,” said Mabaso.

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