Durban – The SANDF has deployed 10 000 troops to KwaZulu-Natal to help authorities manage the aftermath of one of the worst flooding to hit the province in living memory.
Named Operation Chariot, the deployment will see soldiers assist in security support, mop-up work, extraction, technical assessments, and transport of humanitarian relief equipment or goods.
More than 400 people have died, over 60 are still missing and thousands of homes have been damaged by floods that came in the wake of torrential rains.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has estimated the cost of road infrastructure damage caused by the flooding to be around R5.6 billion.
He said that 13 556 households had been affected, with 8 329 houses partially damaged and 3 937 homes completely destroyed.
According to the SANDF, the army will help by erecting field accommodation, providing fresh water with its water purification systems, and deploying electricians and plumbers to restore power and water supply to areas affected by the floods.
“The SA Army pledges include 31 10 000-litre water bunkers, 3 water-provisioning systems, 2 water points with 1-litre bottled water/plastic sachets, a platoon of electricians and plumbers, 60 tents and bedding for the affected communities,” it said.
In addition, 4 helicopters and 2 planes will assist in search-and-rescue, extraction, reconnaissance/assessment missions, and transport of humanitarian relief.
The South African Military Health Services will provide nurses, psychologists, social workers and pharmacists.