File picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA)

PORT ELIZABETH - Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minster Zweli Mkhize said that the government across all spheres is providing a coordinated response to the devastation caused by heavy rains and floods in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.

As the political head responsible for disaster management in the country, the Cogta minister said that the government was doing everything possible to assist with the large scale damage after roads washed away and bridges and houses collapsed under strain from the torrential rains and floods in the two provinces. 

The minister joined President Cyril Ramaphosa in visiting the areas devastated by the floods that have claimed more than 50 lives in KwaZulu-Natal alone.
 
Mkhize met with the provincial and local leadership in the province to discuss the "unfolding work on the ground from various spheres, institutions and organisations aimed at assisting families and communities that have been devastated".
 
“Some people, especially in KZN have lost property and lives. The damage is also visible as the infrastructure across the province is destroyed and in some areas it is dangerous for communities to utilise, " Mkhize said. 

"The devastation is visible and untold pain has been inflicted upon the people and as government we are doing everything possible to assist.  

"The President of the Republic came to see first-hand the devastation left behind by the torrential rains which had surpassed 200mm, thereby leading to flooding in some areas,” Mkhize said.
 
“Emergency accommodation is being provided for communities who are were misplaced.” 
 
Ramaphosa, addressing the media at one of the sites of the disaster said it was crucial for a co-ordinated response to the needs of those who had been affected. 

In Umlazi, people from the communities relayed to the leaders the harrowing scenes that unfolded as the river swept away homes, particularly those close to the river banks.  

Although disaster teams are continuing with their operations to bring people to safety and assist those in need, the continuous rain is not helping the situation.

"The disaster teams have reported that with mudslides and sinkholes swallowing homes, it is now a race against time to rescue those that have not been accounted for.
 
 “The extent of the damage in certain areas requires the expertise on engineers and others who are qualified to guide the process to repair all that has been damaged and rebuilding of what is damaged”,  Mkhize said.
 
He also encouraged people to listen to the alerts and tips about severe weather conditions that the authorities and other sources provide to ensure their safety.

KwaZulu-Natal emergency services said that they are working round the clock to minimise the impact of flooding on communities and providing assistance to those affected. 

“Both Minister Mkhize and the President have thanked the disaster personnel from all across the province for their selfless speedy response in assisting communities," the statement said.
 
Mkhize conveyed his heartfelt condolences those who have lost loved ones and relatives and wished those injured a speedy recovery.

African News Agency (ANA)