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City to cough up R1.1bn for floods

One of the houses where several people died during last month's heavy rains
Picture: Alleyne Morton

One of the houses where several people died during last month's heavy rains Picture: Alleyne Morton

Published May 29, 2019

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Durban - If it weren’t for NGOs, the private sector and volunteers, eThekwini Municipality’s Disaster Management Unit may not have been able to cater for all those displaced, injured and affected by the raging storms that hit the province last month.

The unit said it was designed as a relief and response centre rather than being proactive.

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In a report before the city’s executive committee yesterday, the efforts of the unit were commended. However, the report highlighted the municipality’s lack of planning for natural disasters. The need to mitigate and improve the unit was highlighted in the report, and the city said it had started the process to ensure it responded better during disasters.

“One will never be in total readiness for weather disasters. We are learning and trying to improve. This is no ordinary situation and we call on all councillors to take charge of their area and not just leave it to the Disaster Management Unit to do everything,” said deputy mayor Fawzia Peer.


She said the unit was formulating a template to guide councillors on what they needed to do when such disasters struck.

“The template would help councillors to do the groundwork and then report back to the unit, where it would be decided what resources were needed for the affected area.

“This is not a one-unit task. Other units will also have to get involved and play a big role in ensuring the communities are seen to efficiently and effectively,” she said.

The report included a summary of damages and cost implications for each unit, amounting to a total of R1.1billion.

Infrastructure damage is estimated at R405.4million, including the rebuilding of roads and stormwater drains and management of coastal stormwater and catchment areas.

The total cost for human settlements is R663.3m, which includes breaking new ground for houses and informal settlements.

The report noted that the Disaster Emergency Call Centre was inundated with calls, receiving approximately 171 to 200 calls per hour.

The report stated that disaster management officials had been conducting assessments of the damaged homes and profiling affected households.

This included 4007 houses that were partially damaged and 3929 that were totally destroyed. The total number of people affected was 7365, of which 2988 were children.

Fifteen mass care centres were established to accommodate the displaced. Twelve mass care centres were still operational, housing more than 1500 displaced residents.

EThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede commended officials as well as other stakeholders and volunteers who came on board to assist the city during mop-up operations.

She proposed that a workshop be held for all unit heads to strategise in order to minimise the impact of disasters on the city.

THE MERCURY

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