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PICS AND VIDEO: SANDF joins search for missing April flood victims

Metro Police and SANDF regional works formation members assist in the search for the missing Mdlalose family members. Picture: Lieutenant Zarkia Tinambo

Metro Police and SANDF regional works formation members assist in the search for the missing Mdlalose family members. Picture: Lieutenant Zarkia Tinambo

Published May 27, 2022

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Durban - Operation Chariot soldiers from the SANDF have joined the search for missing flood victims, from the Mdlalose family, in Mzinyathi.

Major Mpho Mathebula said that the search for the missing family members from the Mdlalose family continued in Mzinyathi, KwaZulu-Natal.

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Mathebula said that 10 members of the family, aged two to 43, were swept away, while in the house, following heavy rains at about 11pm on Monday, April 11, 2022. The remains of four members were found in Phola River, Mzinyathi, on April 12, 2022.

Members and relatives of the Mdlalose family discuss search areas with members of the SANDF, deployed for Operation Chariot. Picture: Lieutenant Zarkia Tinambo

A week later, the body of another member was positively identified at Mpophomeni, near the Mzinyathi Falls, in Inanda.

Shortly after that, the body of another family member was discovered in the Umgeni River, near Molweni Cemetery.

Mathebula said that on April 30, 2022, six family members were laid to rest in Pietermaritzburg, while the search for the remaining four continued.

“On Saturday, May 21, 2022, the remains of one more family member was found by the family in Mzinyathi, thereafter, the SANDF was approached by councillor Falakhe Gcabashe of Ward 108, to lend assistance in the search,” Mathebula said.

“On Sunday, May 22, 2022, members of the regional works formation brought in heavy machinery to assist with the search. The remains of two more members were found over the period May 23-24 , 2022, after which SAPS were called back to process the scene,” said Mathebula.

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Corporal Maliviwe Ngqumkile begins the breakdown of the bridge, where it is suspected that the remaining members will be found. Picture: Lieutenant Zarkia Tinambo

Mathebula added that on Wednesday, the search for the missing six-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl was concentrated in Phola River, Mzinyathi, near the site of the first discovery.

Gcabashe said that the team had not found the children. Instead, they found a leg belonging to one of the children.

Meanwhile, the SANDF said that the Area Military Health Unit, in KZN, continued to provide medical support, in collaboration with the provincial Department of Health, in flood-ravaged KwaZulu-Natal.

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SAPS members prepare to transport the remains found. Picture: Lieutenant Zarkia Tinambo

It said that a Level 1 field hospital was erected outside Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, to provide primary health care to displaced communities. Emergency medical support and counselling were provided to various teams, including Aviation Rescue teams. The area has since been declared a provincial disaster by the President of the Republic of South Africa.

“The most affected areas are the northern and southern parts of KwaZulu-Natal, Midlands, and central areas of Durban. The SANDF engineers, alongside their counterparts, work around the clock to ensure water purification at Hazelmere Dam and Inanda Dam. Washed away bridges are being repaired, and roads are being cleared for humanitarian aid relief access,” the SANDF said.

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