President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the loss of life and damage to infrastructure that occurred during flooding in KwaZulu-Natal as a disaster of “enormous proportions”.
The President visited the area on Wednesday following torrential rains which battered the eThekweni Municipality – leaving at least ten districts needing humanitarian and other relief.
At least 306 people have lost their lives during the flooding.
President Ramaphosa assured residents of affected areas that all spheres of government are working hand in hand to bring relief and aid to them.
“We are dealing with a calamity of enormous proportions here but our government is getting into gear [and] the [South African] Defence Force is also going to be here. We are going to roll out as much assistance to our people as we possibly can.
“This calls for working together as government and…our other provinces have already pledged support and assistance…. personnel, experts, food stuffs and all that. There is solidarity and we are working as a team.
“Right now we are dealing with the immediate situation of ensuring that those who have lost loved ones are comforted, accommodated and they are well cared for and that we should also ensure that we help them bury their loved ones and also to find their loved ones because some of their loved ones were washed away by the water through the river system so the search is still going on,” the President said.
On Wednesday evening, the national Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) declared a provincial state of disaster in KZN.
This, the President said, would allow for more financial resources to be ploughed into the provision of relief and to count the cost of the floods.
“We are going to lay out professionals and engineers to look at exactly what the extent of the damage is and we will also look at the cost that it is going to take. But I have said we are going to spare nothing. We are going to do everything that is to do with this disaster and the economic part of the issue that we have to address,” he said.
The President said the disaster is an indication of the devastating effects that climate change can have.
“This disaster is obviously part of climate change. It is telling us that climate change is serious; it is here. We no longer can postpone what we need to do [and] the measures we need to take to deal with climate change. It is here and our disaster management capability needs to be at a higher level,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za