KwaZulu-Natal MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has dispatched a disaster management team to affected communities following a storm that killed 14 people and caused damage expected to run into the millions.
The KZN provincial government said the province had been experiencing extreme weather, such as severe thunderstorms, lightning strikes, gale-force winds and heavy downpours, since last month. This has caused fatalities, injuries and inflicted major damage on households and public infrastructure.
A total of 798 households were affected and 19 injuries have been reported.
KZN cooperative governance and traditional affairs department spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said joint operations were ongoing to provide all the help needed.
“Relief efforts are being marshalled through the joint operations centre that has been set up. To date, food, blankets, mattresses and other urgent necessities have been provided.
“Public facilities, such as churches and community halls, are being used to house those displaced by the violent storms,” Mabaso said.
Hlengiwe Nkwanyana, the spokesperson of humanitarian group Gift of the Givers, said it had put more tents in the affected areas to assist those in need.
“Partnering with Cogta, we distributed more mattresses and blankets and a big tent was put up in the churchyard.
“We have committed to renovating and replacing the Presbyterian church roof. At the moment, we are about to put a sail on the church roof so it can be used to house those that might be in need,” Nkwanyana said.
South African Weather Service communications manager Hannelee Doubell said calmer weather was expected tomorrow as the weather system that had swept the storms into the country was expected to move out.
“The storm has practically cleared out and there are no possible severe or extreme conditions.
“However, there is a high possibility of lightning in the eastern half of the country,” Doubell said.