Following a few days of heavy rainfall and storms, especially in the Province of Kwazulu-Natal, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minster, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said the government across all spheres is providing a coordinated response to the devastation meted on communities.
As the political head responsible for disaster management in the country, the CoGTA Minister assured the country that government was doing everything possible to assist with humanitarian measures following large scale damage after some roads were washed away, some bridges and houses were damaged or collapsed under strain from the unrelenting rains that leads to flooding in some areas, especially in the KZN Province.
The death toll is sitting on twenty (20) as of today, 15 November 2019, with a number of injuries. Both casualties from the tornado at New Hanover (uMshwathi Local Municipality) are in addition to 14 other confirmed casualties since 25 October when the current bad weather spell began. With lives already lost in the KZN Province, Minister Dlamini Zuma conveyed heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones and wished those injured speedy recovery.
Government will do everything it can to avoid further loss of life as a result of floods and urges everyone to cooperate with disaster management personnel as they respond to disaster situations. She also takes this opportunity to convey her appreciation to the Cabinet of KwaZulu-Natal, led by MEC of COGTA, Mr Sipho Hlomuka, for the hands-on leadership and support in the coordination of the interventions.
At national level, COGTA remain vigilant and ready provide support as required. To this end, the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) is coordinating with Provincial Disaster Management Centres (PDMC) across the country and teams on the ground continue to make their presence felt in leading disaster relief efforts and conducting assessments of damages. Although disaster teams are continuing with their operations to minimise the impact on communities, bring people to safety and assist those in need, the continuous rain, while welcome to mitigate drought impact, it calls for heightened preparedness measures and the efforts of our communities to remain vigilant and take precautionary measures as disaster risk management is everybody’s business.
The KZN Province braces itself for more rains, and South African Weather Service indicates that heavy rain (as high as 150mm or more) and strong gale-force winds are expected throughout Friday (today) evening. The expected storms are likely to be coupled with gale-force winds, mud slides, hail storms and localised flooding. Notable is that the intensity of these rains might be greater than that experienced in April 2019, during Easter holidays.
“Due to the heavy rains forecast for this weekend, we urge communities, particularly those in low-lying areas and those near rivers, to be vigilant and move to higher ground in the case of floods. We also ask citizens not to take unnecessary risks and minimise movements, whilst avoiding low lying areas and flood-lines”, emphasised Minister Dlamini Zuma.
Minister Dlamini Zuma encourage people to listen to the alerts and tips about severe weather conditions that the authorities and other sources provide through media and other sources.
“We thank the disaster personnel from all across the country for their selflessness, resolve to ensure speedy response in assisting our communities,” said Minister Dlamini Zuma.
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