24 died in KZN storms and floods, says Cogta MEC
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DURBAN - THE KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Sipho Hlomuka, said yesterday that 24 people died in storm-related incidents across the province in the past two months.
The estimated cost of the damage to homes and infrastructure stood at R3.2 billion.
Hlomuka applauded Disaster Management teams across the province for their swift response to the incidents, that occurred across large parts of the province.
According to a statement released by Cogta, Disaster Management teams are currently occupied with assessing the extent of the damage in some of the municipalities where inclement weather conditions had resulted in 205 incidents.
These included strong winds, lightning strikes, structural fires, heavy rains, structural collapse and drownings.
It added that 10 900 people from 2 068 households across the province were affected. A total of 700 houses were completely destroyed.
Cogta added that during the summer season, weather-related incidents such as heavy rains that result in localised flooding, hail, severe thunderstorms and structural collapses are usually experienced in KZN.
The latest report on the incidents in the province indicated that 24 people have died. A total of 18 drownings took place and six people were struck by lightning. One person remained missing.
The department added that the fatalities may rise following the severe thunderstorms over the weekend.
The department added that it had activated disaster operation centres in all district municipalities to report to the Joint Operations Committee to monitor and co-ordinate interventions and the support required.
It further called on the affected municipalities to submit reports on the extent of damage incurred, so that the Provincial Disaster Management Centre can determine appropriate remedies and provide additional support.
It said it had allocated relief stock to districts that would, in turn, supply the affected local municipalities.
The department said it also continues to work with non-governmental organisations in the provision of relief.
Last week, Eskom said its technicians in KZN were continuing to work tirelessly to restore power to users hit by storm damage last month. Storms left an estimated 1 360 customers without electricity supply, the power utility said.