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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

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Relief efforts continue for KZN disaster victims, community support saluted

Flood victims open plastic bags of donated clothes where different family members occupy the community hall in Molweni after loosing their homes and family members in the recent floods. Picture:Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Flood victims open plastic bags of donated clothes where different family members occupy the community hall in Molweni after loosing their homes and family members in the recent floods. Picture:Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 28, 2022

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Johannesburg - Relief efforts for those affected by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal are continuing, with the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster especially giving thanks to the community groups that have volunteered and donated in assistance.

In a media briefing led by the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla and including Ministers of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga and Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, the departments provided an update on the relief efforts.

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The ministers in the cluster have at various times this week visited different parts of the provinces in the affected areas to assess the damage caused and to seek ways of assisting those in need.

The priority, they said, was placed on providing immediate support to women, children, older persons and persons with disabilities.

Providing a run down of the numbers, Phaahla reported that there are 98 shelters where over 8 400 people are being housed in community halls, religious facilities, and other temporary structures within communities.

The majority of the people housed in shelters are 4 700 women, 1 700 children under 10 years of age, 1 000 older persons and 217 people with disabilities.

“Working with the province and local municipalities, where shelters are identified, the DSD teams have been providing cooked meals, blankets and dignity packs, working with NPOs, churches, corporates and committee members to displaced individuals. Our Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDCs) have also been providing this support on a daily basis. Specific focus has been on children who have been displaced from schools and those who have lost family members or belongings,” Phaahla said.

He added that the teams have also been providing much needed psychosocial support and debriefings with families and individuals in affected communities. Social Workers have reached over 15 983 people in this regard, and these services are ongoing. Sassa has provided Social Relief Distress (SRD) to more than 3 000 people to the tune of almost R5 million, and purchased uniforms for learners to the value of R372 000 targeting flood victims in eThekwini and iLembe Districts.

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“The DSD national and provincial departments have been engaging with corporates and stakeholders to provide support in the form of urgent humanitarian relief for affected areas and has two dedicated storage facilities in Pietermaritzburg and Dube Trade Port in Durban.

“Many organisations, religious groups and community members have answered the call and provided support in a variety of forms including cash, food, clothes, sanitary towels, to mention a few. Government also received donations and pledges from various countries through their embassies, which is welcomed with much appreciation,” Phaahla said.

He further reported that a total of 66 health facilities were affected by the heavy downpour, resulting in mainly roof leaks and flooding.

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Phaahla said there had been minimal disruption to health care services in the most affected districts, however, the cost estimate for the repairs was in the region of R185m.

While water has been partially restored in some facilities, there were others that were still supplied through water tankers. Water is also still being supplied with reservoirs to Wentworth Hospital, Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, Osindisweni Hospital and Park Rynie.

An additional seven sessional pathologists have been brought in to expedite the post mortems. A total of 363 post mortems have been conducted so far.

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Phaala explained that since all deaths because of the heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding were determined to be unnatural, in terms of the law, there was a legal obligation to conduct these post mortems.

Motshekga said the basic education sector was also severely affected by the flooding as more than 630 schools were affected. Of those, 101 schools were inaccessible and 124 have suffered extensive damage.

“We can confirm that 64 learners have been reported to be deceased, while five are still missing. One educator and one food handler have also passed away,” she said.

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