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KZN floods: Zikalala warns more flooding could hit the province

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As flood-ravaged KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) braces itself for a cold front which is expected to bring more rain over weekend, Premier Sihle Zikalala has warned about the possibility of more flooding in the province.

Zikalala was addressing members of the media to provide an update on the work done so far to support affected families, rebuild the province and grow the economy since the flooding in KZN in April.

The briefing comes after a provincial executive council meeting held on Wednesday.

Zikalala said the provincial government received a severe weather warning notice from the South African Weather Services for the coming weekend.

“We are advised that if KwaZulu-Natal receives an additional 20mm of rain, there is a potential for flooding as the ground may still be saturated following the recent heavy rains. We have been advised to expect snowfalls and freezing temperatures.”

ALSO READ: Parliament committee on KZN floods to look into climate change, relief funds spending

The Premier said while the province has barely recovered from the previous deadly floods, he assured residents that all disaster management teams will be on full alert.

“We urge our fellow citizen to be aware, especially those who may be in flood-prone areas. Everyone must exercise extreme caution and we appeal to people to be careful as they use self-heating mechanisms, including gas heaters etc.”

Zikalala warned that many areas and infrastructures are still vulnerable.

“We need to so everything possible to avoid disasters in rapid succession.”

He said the flood affected 85,280 people.

“A total of 448 fatalities are in terms of the final report confirmed to be the baseline official figure confirming the deceased. A total of 88 people are still reported missing… and 50 injured.

“A total of 27,069 houses were affected with 8,584 houses totally destroyed and 13,536 partially destroyed,” Zikalala said.

ALSO READ: Concerns over government’s lack of capacity to respond to KZN floods misplaced – Ramaphosa

He added the floods were the worst recorded disaster in the history of the province.

“The cost of the flood damage of the public infrastructure is officially estimated at R25 billion.” 

Zikalala also addressed concerns that thousands of people across the province are in halls waiting for government assistance.

“It is important that we cure the unfortunate selective amnesia, especially among those who like to feast on the tragedy and suffering of fellow citizens. From the day the floods occurred, government has been on the frontline, activating and physically supporting our disaster operations. National government, led by His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, has been with us since those difficult days.”

“We have ensured that all affected persons are safe and that their basic needs are met daily. Currently the province has 91 places that are being used as shelters (down from 102) to house 7,297 displaced people. The government and social partners provide meals, food packs, blankets, hygiene and dignity packs, and psycho-social support services, among others,” Zikalala said.

Zikalala added that most services have been restored and that the province is attending to the areas that need new infrastructure installed.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) in KZN is expected to receive much-needed relief intervention to flood victims on Friday.

The donations will be received from the leadership from different ANC provinces in response to the plight of the people affected by the recent floods.