We have entered day number six since the flood disasters which by far rank as being among the worst catastrophes to befall the province of KwaZulu-Natal in a long time. The loss of life, destruction of homes, the damage to the physical infrastructure, the demolition of public buildings, and theconsequent damage to services combined to make this natural disaster one of the worst ever in recorded history of our province. We suspect the human toll and damage surpasses the 1987 floods which engulfed this part of the world.
Following the two-year devastating impact of Covid-19, the province had begun to make gradual but meaningful progress in all the right areas of our recovery and reconstruction programme. However, this disaster has now come crushing down with the level of devastation caused by the flooding.
Even in these difficult moments, we remain encouraged andinspired by the brave, creative, and resilient people of KwaZulu-Natal and the tremendous support of the people of South Africa in general.
Ladies and Gentlemen our work to lift the people of KwaZulu-Natal from the wreckage caused by the flood disasters has just begun. The past days have been focused on immediate rescue missions and efforts aimed at saving lives, and surveying the damage. While this still continues as a priority, the work to lift the province out of this rubble is intensifying.
Progress on interventions made to-date
Today, we wish to update the people of KwaZulu-Natal, our country, and indeed the world on the progress on the interventions we have made across all sectors. We will also deal with areas of challenge. As we respond with urgency, we will put to the test our new District Development Model(DDM) and Operation Sukuma Sakhe, which identifies the beneficiary as the engine of sustainable development and in which the priority needs of the community become the over-riding criteria for interventions.
The needs identified are enormous. Billions will be required to rebuild the province from this catastrophe. It is against this background that at a meeting this morning, the Provincial Government resolved to ask National Government to consider a review and perhaps investigate whether this disaster should not be declared as a National Disaster. We say this withhumility and with an understanding that our President and Ministers have been the first on the ground with us and in surveying the damage they have witnessed the level of response required. We remain grateful for the speed with which the state of Provincial Disaster was declared and we can assure the nation that we are our doing our best.
Responding with urgency and being results-driven
We are mindful of the fact that most of our citizens are recovering from post-traumatic stress related to this disaster. The magnitude of this disaster is overwhelming to all who care. It is against this background that we need to act with speed in recovery and removing all the debris including containers that lie strewn on the roads as they remain a grim remainder of the devastation. This must be our moment of Khawuleza in word and in deed. We should be a nation that places a high premium on doing things efficiently and acting with agility to rise to the occasion when the situation demands. After all, we are a nation that is forged in the crucible of struggle, and no amount of human suffering should dim the hopes of a better future. And for this hope to be sustained, we must act now and act as one nation in the best interest of our country and humanity as a whole.
Search and rescue mission
The current inclement weather had slowed our assessment and rescue operations on the ground, but we are once again back into full swing. As of this morning, KZN received 38 call-outs and on the scenes that were attended, 6 bodies were recovered. We stand at approximately 63 persons missing or unaccounted for. The death toll now stands at 443.
We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the family of one of our search and rescue team member who was busy doing search and rescue at the Henley Dam. He experienced difficulty breathing and was airlifted to the Medi-Clinic Hospital and unfortunately passed away. May his soul rest in peace.
Under SAPS, we have deployed: 4 pilots and 48 crews.
With our SANDF, four Pilots and 12 crews. We have rescue dogs, four jet skis, and a combined crew of 67 experts in search and rescue missions.
Support from sister provinces
We have welcomed support from sister provinces. We are truly appreciative of this humanitarian assistance:
Western Cape under Premier Alan:
• Disaster Managers
• Fire and Rescue
Please allow us, on behalf of the Provincial Government and people of KwaZulu-Natal, to also express solidarity with the people of Joe Slovo Informal Settlement, Langa, in the Western Cape who were affected by the raging fires on their homes yesterday. We have no doubt that South Africans will not fail in lending a hand to relieve the people of the Western Cape.
• Department of Health
• Roads engineer
• Director Construction
• Structural Engineers
We will be receiving more teams from other provinces today.
The SAPS has also deployed a contingent of personnel to ensure safety and apprehend and thwart criminal elements that may attempt to use the tragedy to pursue criminal activities.
We wish to discourage our people to get involved in any criminal activity especially at a time when the focus must be on saving lives and rebuilding our beautiful province. Siyanxusa sizwe sakithi, masingazigwazi ngowethu, masingavumeli ubugebengu bande naku sonke isifundzwesisemanzini sibhekene nalenhlekele yokungenelwa amanziendlini. Masiziphathe kahle, sakhe sivuselele isiFundazwe sethu.
TOTAL RESCUE OPERATIONS TO DATE = 185
A number of areas experienced water disruptions. A war room has been established comprising Ethekwini, Umgeni Water, Department of Water and Sanitation, Human Settlements and Roads and a plan to restore services is being implemented.
These are the achievements on water to date:
• Bulk Water Supply, 96% (520 Megalitres) of Durban Heights production capacity will be fully restored by the 24 April 2022.
• 140 Megalitres per day will be recovered. This will cover (Northern region of Durban - areas such as Kwa-Mashu, Ntuzuma, Newlands, Durban North, Umhlanga, Phoenix and Inanda etc.)
• Distribution Network and pump station need to be refurbished to restore capacity. A contractor through emergency procurement will be appointed by 22 April 2022. This will help us to recover and supply 100 Megalitres of water in the Southern Basin covering (Southern Durban, Umlazi, Adams and Umbumbulu etc.)
• Bulk Water Supply, Hazelmere dam water quality has been affected by the floods. This impact capacity of Water Treatment Works. Identified affected areas will be supplied through water tankers in the interim.
• The Operation and Maintenance teams from the City of Ethekwini have been isolating the major leaks and bursts in order to conserve available water. A large portion of Umhlanga has been affected by this process of conserving water. Once the leak has been addressed, water supply will be restored. We are using technology (satellite leak detection.
• We are currently providing emergency supply of water. We have 179 in operation currently and working according to shifts.
In Ugu District, the following areas have been fully restored with isolated cases of airlocks and low pressure:
• Marburg, Margate ext3,
• Ramsgate North,
• Ramsgate South,
• Sea Park,
• Sunwhich Port ,
• Shelly Beach,
• Mkholombe, Nositha, Melville.
These areas are also beginning to get water though lower pressure in certain streets: Oslo, Gamalakhe, Umtentweni, Port Shepstone, Albersville, Protea Park, Wavell Ave. part of Margate.
The following areas are not yet restored:
• Murchison- Pump has just been repaired and started - by evening all areas will be restored.
• Pumula, Woodgrange, Hibberdene- Command resevoirwas empty and is being filled anticipate to get water in the area on Sunday morning.
• Anerley- Reservoir is now on 68% and will be opened on Sunday morning when above 85%.
• Margate CBD, Manaba, Margate ext 2 and Uvongo- Bulk line wash is being attended to and expected to be completed by this evening, meaning full restoration may be realised this evening or early tomorrow morning.
We have challenges due to the inaccessibility of the roads. This is resulting in challenges to deliver water in many areas as roads are muddy and make it difficult to navigate on the hilly terrains of Ilembe. This is affecting communities and schools. More water tankers are required to cover areas suchas KwaDukuza, Ndwedwe and Maphumulo Municipalities
Nsuze and Esidumbini treatment plants are flooded and require a reprioritization of R3-million
The Sundumbili Waste Water Treatment Works: The largest sewerage treatment servicing the entire Mandeni is flooded and as result, this will have an impact and teams are working on it.
We can confirm that most areas that experienced electricity disruptions particularly in Ethekwini Metro are now back to full service. The challenge is in individual households and new cases being reported. Power supply that was impacting on water and the filling up of reservoirs in areas such as Inanda dam has been fixed. The main challenges with water is the bulk supply pipelines that are damaged.
Interventions by the Department of Social Development
Thus far the Department of Social Development is providing supply of food parcels to victims together with municipalities in affected areas. Home cooked meals that could be accessed through soup kitchens. Tents for temporary shelter, blankets, mattresses.
The South African Social Security Agency has also made funding to the tune of R1900x2 per household for the burial support. This exclude the funding to be provide to cover funeral costs by Province, Municipalities and private donors.
Department of Health
Some Hospitals were affected and others reportedly running out of water. This has received priority attention and the problem is largely getting resolved. The Department remainson high alert for water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, Malaria. We have asked the Department to look into a possibility of providing temporary or mobile clinics to ensure that people don’t run out of chronic medications and that are serviced during this period of a disaster. The Department will upscale education on water purification, good sanitation and hygiene.
The Department of Health is reporting that all challenges experienced earlier are now resolved.
We are also mindful that this disaster is happening during a period of Covid-19, hence we request and implore communities to exercise extra care as they get involve withefforts to rebuild their lives. With regard to mortuaries we in control the situation through the department of Health. We have completed 243 post-mortems, and are left with 114 more to complete. We have mobilised additional resources, including 7 doctors, to ensure that post mortems are completed speedily, in order to avoid congestion, and to enable those who are grieving to bury their loved ones. Our officials are constantly monitoring the situation and sending bodies to those facilities that do have space. We are appealing to those who have lost their loved ones to be patient, and wish to assure them that we are doing the best we can under the circumstances. We would also like to appeal to funeral conductors to stop creating a false sense of alarm, and to allow our forensic pathologists to do their work unhindered - and to collect bodies that have been completed without delay.
Department of Education
To date a total of 551 Schools have been affected. About 98 of these will need mobile classrooms when schools open while others require cleaning and minor repairs to resolve the situation. The severe cases will be dealt with through the implementing agent intervention. The Department will unveil plans to ensure that schooling return to normal when schools re-open and relevant contingency measures.
Agriculture and Rural Development
Due to floods there may be low harvesting and an impact on livestock and farming communities is being collated.
Department of Human Settlements
The Department of Human Settlements has also responded swiftly. The Minister has announced that an amount to the tune of R1billion will be made available to assist in the Human Settlement sector. We know that there is a total of 8329 houses that are partially damaged, 3 937 completely destroyed and affected household as of today are 13 556.
With effect from Tuesday, the MEC for Human Settlement will lead the programme to identify land for temporary relocation of people, facilitate provision of temporary shelter and also work on long term interventions.
Moving forward the case of persons who have built houses along the river banks of the demands priority attention. A number of houses along these river banks were affected. Many still remain precariously perched on the edge of the river. In reality no building should ever have been allowed to be erected at such a location. As part of the future plans we should implement a no building line across all municipalities using the Prevention of Re-emergence of Slums Act. Focus on identifying alternative land for the relocation starting with those whose buildings are in the greatest danger.
Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs
The Department of EDTEA is working on a programme to support businesses affected by floods. Profiling exercises will continue and interventions will be as per the requirement of each business. The Department with its entities has responded to water shortages in hotels in partnership with Municipalities. Work has started to also clean the beaches,
National Department of Communications has deployed various entities on the ground to attend to the impact on the telecoms network and broadcasting,
Department of Home Affairs
The Department has commenced all the work to assist with death certificates and relevant documentation to all the victims of the flood disaster. We expect that they will use their mobile services to reach the people in community halls and provide temporary services stationed in areas not easily accessible. The services will be rendered in a clustered approach involving SASSA and Home Affairs.
Perceptions of corruption
We want to say without any equivocation that all the resources allocated for flood relief and the recovery and rebuilding process will be utilized in line with fiscal rectitude, accountability, transparency and openness. We want to emphasize the fact that, having leant the lessons of Covid-19, no amount of corruption, maladministration and fraud will be tolerated or associated with this province. We want to assure our communities that all the funds will be used prudentially and that no one will be allowed to feast on the suffering of our people in order to line their pockets. Work of quality and value for money will be done. We have monitoring institutions that are in place including the Auditor-General. We will act decisively without fear, favour or prejudice on anyone taking advantage of the resources meant to assist the needy communities.
Transport, Roads and Bridges
Roads, bridges, and other essential infrastructure were damaged or completely washed away. Coastal areas such as eThekwini, iLembe, uGu and King Cetshwayo were the most affected District Municipalities.
These floods have also affected the provincial road network and rendered them unsafe for public use. Urgent repairs and removal of debris are underway to restore the road network to its safe condition again. Most roads that were blocked have so far been cleared in some cases allowing single lane access. Work continues to restore access to the remaining roads but some will need extensive repairs to render them navigable.
There are still road closures, thus isolating, or increasing the time required, via alternate routes, to travel to hospitals, schools, shops, clinics, and areas of work. We are making progress with clearing mudslides, opening roads by clearing the debris and fixing sinkholes.
The estimated cost for road infrastructure damages is preliminary sitting at R5.6 billion and includes 1369 infrastructure projects across the province. The short-terminterventions. Identifying locations where access has been completely lost due to existing crossings being washed away. These will be replaced with bailey bridges which will be implemented by SANDF.
The Department of Public Works has confirmed that SANDF will deploy 6-10 teams that will build one bridge each. This will take duration of 3-months with job opportunities of 40-60 people per bridge.
Cost of the overall damage
At this point we are still surveying all the damage and quantifying. We want to be scientific and not alarmists about it and to ensure that we have covered all sectors affected. We have just demonstrated with the few figures on Human Settlement and Transport and Roads Infrastructure.
Burial support to families
As we indicated in our last comprehensive briefing. The government and social partners will provide support to the bereaved families. This morning the Executive Council approved the provincial policy on Government SupportFuneral Assistance to People who passed away as a result of the flood disasters. Municipalities have policies to assist the needy and the indigent and are currently conducting profiling in line with their policies. Partners such as AVBOB have also committed to supporting about 150 people. We are aware that due to water and electricity challenges there have been delays with post-mortem reports but the Department of Health is attending to the situation. Every needy family will be supported and as of today, we will be ready to assist families that are ready to lay their loved ones to rest. The Burial support committee has been established in the Office of the Premier for coordination purposes, working with the Department of Social Development and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
Tribute to all emergency services
We wish to pay tribute to the emergency services across all the networks of disaster officials, workers in the health services, the security agencies, Social services, fire services etc.
We also want to express gratitude to the Non-Governmental Organisation and Businesses for their voluntary support and contribution in assisting us to manage and respond to this disaster. As social partners you are once again rising to the occasion and coming to the assistance of all our affected communities.
To the thousands of fellow South Africans who in various ways are lending a hand to help their neighbours in distress, we express the gratitude of the government and people of KwaZulu-Natal.
We have taken blows but your support is helping to cushion the blows, your assistance and support will help to pick ourselves up and keep going.
This is a moment of great adversity. But this is also a moment where we need to summon our collective courage and turn this devastation into an opportunity to rebuild our province. It is a moment for the human spirit to triumph over adversity.
Like the well-known circle of life, our communities have long understood that drawing from ancient wisdom that when the sun sets on the land of our fathers and mothers, darkness does not assume the status of permanence. The sun shall rise again. The people of KwaZulu-Natal will rise again from this mayhem. We are assured of this because KwaZulu-Natal has the whole nation behind it.
We are grateful for the support we have been given by the country and institutions that are outside our country. May God Bless the people of KwaZulu-Natal and comfort them during this difficult time.