We would like to welcome all members of the media who have joined us today virtually, and via our social media platforms.
The purpose of this briefing is to provide an update on the latest situation following the resurgence of storms and floods over the past 24 hours.
Overnight on 21 and 22May 2022, the province yet again underwent some of the worst storms that have been accompanied by floods resulting in destruction that comes with such situations.
We are yet to receive a full comprehensive report on the impact of these latest heavy rains, but as reports come in a worrying picture is however emerging. The South African Weather Services (SAWS) predicts that the storm will be moving up the coast thus affecting the district of King Cetshwayo and Mkhanyakude.
According to the SAWS the rains have affected mostly the coastal areas with those around eThekwini mostly impacted. The Province received early warnings at alert LEVEL 10 from the South Africa
Weather Service (SAWS) alerting to disruptive rainfall in Hluhluwe, EThekwini, Jozini, KwaDukuza, Mandeni, Maphumulo, Mkhambathini, Mthonjaneni, Mtubatuba, Ndwedwe, Nongoma, Ulundi, Umdoni, Umhlabuyalingana, uMhlathuze, uMlalazi and uPhongolo municipal areas.
So far the greatest impact is expected along the coastal and north-eastern parts of the KZN.
These heavy rainfalls have resulted into flooding of roads, human settlements, and damage properties. We understand that some areas are inaccessible and have become islands at this stage.
Water levels are being closely monitored in various areas that are prone to flooding so that appropriate measures will be effected. As the number of calls at the control centre has increased, the department has appealed to the SANDF to be deployed to the Northern parts of Durban for urgent response. The metro police and fire department are assisting with water pumping and road closure where the roads are affected.
However a few roads have been temporary closed around Pinetown and other areas due to flooding
A number of roads and bridges in Ethekwini, especially uMdloti, La Mercy and others have been affected and we urge road users to be on the alert and to stay at home if possible.
Evacuation Measures so far
There are approximately two hundred and fifty (250) people that are evacuated in Tongaat and Tehuise care centres. Currently 82 care centres with 3186 people counted around the city can used to accommodate people. So far, 40 people St Catherine, Waterways in Tongaat 44 units, Plain Street, retirement village in Tongaat were evacuated.
The Westbrook retirement village was evacuated. A total of 190 people have been evacuated and the fire brigade unit has assisted with pumping the water the hall.
The Ilembe district was hugely affected with a number of household being left homeless and the road network infrastructure being affected.
DAMAGE KING CETSHWAYO
In King Cetshwayo severe damage was reported to the Ngobese house which fell due to heavy rains & wind.
A family of 9 members living in a one room house has been moved following damage to their house.
The Zululand District is experiencing heavy rainfall and is being closely monitored.
We can assure the people of KwaZulu-Natal of the preparedness of all our disaster teams in all districts including being alert to all the areas that are prone to flooding.
Relief interventions are on-going to ensure that all community halls with displaced people are receiving adequate relief assistance, social support services and medical assistance. In the event flood prone areas need to evacuate people due to rising water levels, the open halls will be able to accommodate them.
So far, Social Partners such as Red Cross, Al-Imdaad Foundation and many others have been activated to support municipalities with humanitarian Aid and hot meals. Provincial and Municipal Emergency Services such as RTI, EMS, SAPS, SANDF, Metro Police, Search and Rescue have been activated and they are on standby to respond swiftly. The Yellow Plant activation by municipal technical services have been done for snow prone areas.
We have instructed every municipality to identify and allocate community halls to be used as homeless sheltering. Sector Departments and other stakeholders (NGOs) have been advised to activate their respective contingency plans to ensure that the damaged public infrastructure is repaired immediately.