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Challenges remain in KwaZulu-Natal after floods

Published May 20, 2022

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Durban - Water infrastructure repairs and housing the homeless are still proving to be a challenge for officials in KwaZulu-Natal after the April floods.

The KZN executive council met on Wednesday to discuss developments in the province, and highlight efforts to recover and rebuild.

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KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said estimates were that the floods had affected 85 280 people with 6 895 being homeless.

The death toll is about 448 with 88 people still reported missing and 50 injured.

A total of 27 069 households were affected; 8 584 houses totally destroyed and 13 536 partially destroyed.

The province has 91 places that are being used as shelters, reduced from 102. These accommodate 7 297 displaced people. The government and social partners provide meals, food packs, blankets, hygiene and dignity packs, and psycho-social support services, among others. In eThekwini, more than 100 power substations were severely affected by the floods.

Zikalala said all high voltage substations had been restored with some work still in progress on low and medium voltage faults.

Water

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In eThekwini, the water supply has improved by 75%-80% in most areas.

“There is still a challenge in some areas. The floods severely damaged the water treatment plant in oThongathi.

“Major repairs in this area are expected to take a few months at an estimated cost of R30 million, according to the eThekwini metro engineers.”

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Housing

Service providers have been appointed for the construction of 1 810 temporary residential units in the province. To date, 77 are complete.

Zikalala said progress was slowed by the suitability of land as rebuilding could not take place in some areas where communities were flooded.

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Units were being constructed in Molweni, KwaMakhutha and Inanda.

According to a survey by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, at least 826 companies were affected and the cost of the damages to them was estimated at R7 billion.

The districts that had the biggest impact were eThekwini Municipality with 239 companies, followed by iLembe with 87, and Ugu District with 54 companies.

Zikalala said the floods had impacted 31 220 jobs with eThekwini accounting for 68%.

The rail network in the port area is damaged and will be operational in July 2022.

Zikalala said there was consideration to open a new road along the railway line to ease movement of cargo.

He said the balance for donations in the province bank account was R125 000, with R100 000 specifically earmarked for the Department of Health.

The balance of R25 000 will be used in the rebuilding process.

“The supply of water to Ntuzuma, oThongathi and surrounding areas is also a challenge.

“The municipality continues to balance supply in these areas by rationing. Major pipeline replacement work that will secure supply is due for completion by the week ending May 20, 2022,” he said.

A report from the eThekwini Municipality stated that the total confirmed fatalities were 390, with 9 091 people in care centres and 12 494 children and 28 955 adults affected.

An amount of 161 burial applications which were sent to the Motsepe Foundation for payment have been approved.

The report stated that displaced people were being sheltered in churches, schools and community halls.

According to the municipality, the cost to date of the damage caused by floods is more than R3.9bn, excluding human settlements costs.

The report stated that 635 259 formal full-time jobs were reported to be at risk with 7 900 jobs estimated to have been lost due to the flooding.

The majority of jobs lost was in the low-skilled category, and the city has increased vulnerability of the labour market.

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