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SANDF pleads with flood victims to be patient

Brigadier Major general Andile Hlongwa during a press conference at the Virginia airport in Durban Pictures: Theo Jeptha African News Agency (ANA)

Brigadier Major general Andile Hlongwa during a press conference at the Virginia airport in Durban Pictures: Theo Jeptha African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 22, 2022

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NOMVELO MKHWANAZI

Durban - Extensively-affected KZN flood victims have raised their concerns and dissatisfaction regarding the slow pace at which efforts and relief missions were moving.

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The South African National Defence Force had been instructed to activate 10 000 troops for mop-up and transporting aid. The SANDF is also providing medical support, transporting food parcels and rescue missions.

Brigadier General Sandile Hlongwa pleaded with the residents to be patient as they are still going through processes, to begin with relief missions.

“Today, I am mainly with the engineers from Water and Road and Infrastructure. The aim is to identify land in the affected areas and then decide what assistance is actually required. We as the military will decide on what we can effect on the ground,” Hlongwa said.

He said members would be deployed after planning was done. However, Durban Light Infantry was on the ground, along with the marine divers from the Navy.

“As of now, it is still a build-up. We are staging in three areas, Ladysmith being the main base. We also have a water purifying plant, to process water. In an hour's time, we produce 32 000 litres of water. We also put a section in Umlazi for security issues, since there were looting incidents that occurred in Umlazi,” Hlongwa added.

He said mobilising equipment would take some time, but they were doing their best to help those in need, adding that he understood the pain that they were going through.

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“From the SANDF’s side, we are bringing 30 water tankers that will be taken to the highly-affected areas. As of today (Wednesday), you should be seeing some progress. The assessments were already done, as of last week by our engineers,” said Hlongwa.

Director Defence Corporate Communications, Andries Mokoena Mahapa, said they would transport food parcels from Virginia Airport to the affected areas, working together with Gift of the Givers.

“We are using our own choppers to transport the food from the airport to the most affected areas.

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“The SANDF is not operating independently from other agencies within the disaster management. We are part of the team. We are also assisting in terms of engineering, medical and the air assets.

“We are also working with Gift of the Givers to give out the food parcels,” said Mahapa.

The SANDF, working with the Gift of the Givers, had completed more than six trips to donate warm clothing, canned foods, and blankets for the people affected by the floods in KwaZulu-Natal.

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