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FLOOD WRAP | Put thousands affected in KZN floods in empty hotels in the city, says eThekwini

01 May 2022 - 06:00 By TimesLIVE
Women in church uniforms gather around the coffin of police diver Sgt Busisiwe Mjwara, who died while searching for flood victims, at her official funeral in Pietermaritzburg on April 22 2022.
Women in church uniforms gather around the coffin of police diver Sgt Busisiwe Mjwara, who died while searching for flood victims, at her official funeral in Pietermaritzburg on April 22 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

May 1 2022 - 08:30

Put thousands affected in KZN floods in empty hotels in the city, says eThekwini

The eThekwini municipality has called for empty hotels and hijacked buildings owned by the state to be renovated and used to accommodate those displaced by the floods.

The municipality’s human settlement & infrastructure committee has taken a stand against a plan by the KwaZulu-Natal department of human settlements to construct temporary residential units (TRUs), saying this is not a viable solution for housing. 

According to the provincial department, more than R2bn will be needed to repair and construct 14,449 homes affected by the floods that swept through parts of the province last month, killing more than 400 people and displacing thousands.

Most of the homes affected — 11,492 of them — are in eThekwini.

A report released by the provincial department on Friday said R307m would be needed to construct 4,478 TRUs after the deluge.

May 1 2022 - 08:00

Grisly task of returning bones to cemetery left to traumatised residents

The skeletal remains that washed from a cemetery during the deadly KwaZulu-Natal floods are the cause of continued distress for residents, who say local authorities have ignored them.

Bones and skulls from the Ntuzuma Cemetery, north of Durban, made their way into neighbouring residents’ yards when the facility was flooded two weeks ago.

Residents say that bones were found in the area as recently as Thursday, but ward councillors and eThekwini municipality failed to show up to collect them.

Resident Sbusiso Khanyile told the Sunday Times on Friday the community had to contend with the arduous task of clearing up their yards.

“Remains were found as recently as yesterday [Thursday]. I bundled the bones into a plastic bag and threw it back into the cemetery as I did not know what to do with it,” said Khanyile.

May 1 2022 - 07:40

KZN pulls out the stops to help pupils after floods disrupt schooling

The KwaZulu-Natal education department has proposed enlisting volunteer teachers at weekends to help pupils who missed classes due to the flood disaster.

A total of 187,599 pupils from Umlazi and Pinetown, two of the districts worst affected,  were absent from school on April 22, according to figures supplied during a presentation by the department to stakeholders.

In Umlazi, more than 11,000 grade 9 pupils missed classes each day between April 19 and 22. 

At least 630 schools in the province were affected by the floods to some degree, 101 of them having been rendered inaccessible. Only 19 are still inaccessible.

The cost of the floods for the education department is estimated at about R442.4m, which includes providing 98 mobile classrooms. The department reported that 64 pupils were among the more than 400 people who died in the disaster and five are still missing

May 1 2022 - 07:20

KwaZulu-Natal, how's your mental health?

The stress of the deadly floods in KwaZulu-Natal has been described by many residents as a reminder of the riots and looting across the province in July last year.

Many felt stuck at home, isolated from family members, unable to get to them and concerned for their safety.

Mental health experts agree that KwaZulu-Natal residents have been through the wringer.

A study published in the PLOS Climate journal three weeks ago has revealed that people exposed to a disaster in their community are likely to experience depression in the long term.

Durban clinical psychologist Nazia Osman said mental health experts were observing feelings of dread, fear, emotional instability and stress responses like hyper-vigilance, anxiety, trauma and other psychological symptoms.

May 1 2022 - 07:00

WILLIAM GUMEDE | SA’s entire infrastructure is on the verge of total collapse

Lack of infrastructure maintenance; corruption in which dodgy black empowerment companies gifted tenders build flimsy infrastructure; and cadre deployees without technical skills who failed to maintain public assets, have now snowballed into the failure of the entire public infrastructure of SA.

It means the country will see a rapid, further collapse of infrastructure; damage from disasters will be multiplied and the cost of repairs will exceed that of building new infrastructure.

SA is now experiencing the failure of infrastructure system across the country; and if disasters like floods occur, the affect will be damaging in terms of lives lost, damage to property and the cost of repairs.

May 1 2022 - 06:40

BRUCE LAYZELL | We must not neglect the kids who are the most vulnerable victims of the floods

In the face of the national state of disaster declared after the floods in KwaZulu-Natal, we cannot forget the long-lasting affect this will have on our most vulnerable children.

Too often, the biggest concerns around catastrophic disasters have to do with money, with damage to roads, infrastructure, and housing.

While this is important, it’s critical too that the voices of our children are not lost as they deal with huge mental, psychological and emotional trauma.

Sadly, the psychosocial welfare of these kids, specifically those from marginalised communities, receives hardly any mention. This neglect results in significant future challenges for the next generation.

May 1 2022 - 06:20

‘Bounce Back’ billions on offer​

A R15bn credit guarantee scheme to help small and medium businesses recover from the ravages of Covid-19, the July 2021 riots and recent flooding in KwaZulu-Natal has been welcomed, but some say it may be too late for some businesses.

The Bounce Back Support Scheme, which was first signalled by finance minister Enoch Godongwana in February’s budget, came into effect this week to offer funding to qualifying businesses to grow the economy and create jobs, the National Treasury said in a statement.

Specifically, it is expected to help the recovery of businesses that are picking up the pieces after the pandemic, the July 2021 riots and the floods, the Treasury said.

May 1 2022 - 06:00

Q&A with minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele on public trust in the government

The KwaZulu-Natal floods have highlighted an alarming trust deficit between the government and the public. Chris Barron asked minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele...

April 29 2022 - 11:00

‘The tears cannot hold themselves’, Nomzamo Mbatha recounts heartbreaking tale of flood aftermath

Actress Nomzamo Mbatha was left heartbroken and shattered after she went home recently and witnessed the destruction brought by the floods in KwaZulu-Natal earlier this month.

Taking to Instagram, the Coming 2 America star shared that on her way to her hometown KwaMashu, she stopped at a road she used regularly to visit her mother’s home.

That road is now a pile of rubble with remnants of washed away homes, and people missing.

"A road I use when driving to my mother’s house. There is also a bridge and it ‘had’ homes on either side. What I am standing on is the debris of what was once those homes. Under the rubble and rocks, missing families. The small structure you see in the far right corner is what used to be someone’s verandah.

"I climbed on to it and found couches overturned. It must have been the living room. A school book with a name on it, Okuhle. She was in grade 5. One of my team members comes over my shoulder and puts a phone in my face and says, 'these are the missing two from that home'. The tears cannot hold themselves," she wrote.

“You ask what is needed? Boots. So we can go through the rubble and look for the lost bodies.

April 28 2022 - 11:00

Here's how much has been paid out to flood victims in social relief of distress grants so far

The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) and department of social development have disbursed relief of distress grants to more than 3,000 people affected by floods that ravaged parts of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal earlier this month. 

This is according to health minister Joe Phaahla who spoke during a social protection, community and human development ministerial cluster briefing on Thursday.

Phaahla said an estimated R5m has been disbursed by Sassa so far.

The department, Sassa and other stakeholders have also spent R370,000 on school uniforms which have been donated to pupils who lost their belongings during the floods to help ensure a smooth return to schooling.

April 28 2022 - 17:48

Warm and fuzzy: puppy rescue tales amid all the death from KZN floods

It is impossible to determine the number of animals killed or displaced after the deadly floods in KwaZulu-Natal earlier this month, according to the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA). 

At least 435 people were killed and thousands displaced during the deluge which was at its worst on April 11 and 12. 

The NSPCA said a team was deployed to the province after the floods to assist with rescue and relief efforts as many animals, much like their human counterparts, were left without water, food or shelter, injured and prone to disease. 

April 28 2022 - 17:28

R190m bill to repair KZN hospitals and clinics damaged by floods: Phaahla

Health minister Joe Phaahla says his department will have to pay close to R190m to fix health infrastructure that was damaged in the KwaZulu-Natal floods.

Phaahla told this to journalists in parliament on Thursday as part of a report-back on government efforts in the province.

“In the health sector, 66 facilities have been affected, resulting in mainly roof leaks and flooding into clinics and hospitals,” Phaahla said.

He said 24 facilities were damaged in eThekwini, including health centres, hospitals and clinics. Fifteen facilities were affected in the Ugu district, nine in Umgungundlovu and eight in iLembe district. 

April 28 2022 - 12:12

Barricades 'maliciously' removed before police van nosedived on flood-damaged road

Concrete barricades placed on the unstable R102 in KwaDukuza, north of Durban, were allegedly “maliciously” removed before a police vehicle nosedived into the gap.

Two police officers were injured and hospitalised.

Ward councillor Jack Abrahams told TimesLIVE on Thursday the concrete barriers had been thrown into a stream.

The provincial transport department erected the barricades as the stretch of road was “dangerous” because it had been damaged by the floods.

April 28 2022 - 11:03

Technicians fixing flood-damaged roads robbed of state vehicle outside Umlazi

Technicians fixing a road that washed away during the recent floods were robbed of a provincial department of transport vehicle outside Umlazi on Wednesday.

Transport, community safety and liaison MEC Peggy Nkonyeni said the officials were held at gunpoint at a Shell Garage in KwaMuthwa outside Umlazi, south of Durban.

The suspects fled in the white Ford Ranger double-cab bakkie.

The technicians were travelling from a site where they were fixing the L1159 in Umbumbulu.

“A case of carjacking has been opened and is being investigated by the police. The department appeals to anyone with information to share it with the police to recover the vehicle,” said Nkonyeni.

April 27 2022 - 10:43

Floods create health risks: what to look out for and how to avoid them

Recently South Africa has experienced heavy rains which resulted in floods in some parts of the country.

In the coastal city of Durban hundreds of people have died and families have been displaced in the aftermath.

Water pipes, sewerage systems and roads have also been damaged. Public health experts, Juno Thomas and Linda Erasmus from the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases explain what kind of health risks can emerge as a result of flood disasters and what actions can be taken.

April 27 2022 - 08:00

Councillor proposes mass funeral for 26 KZN flood victims killed in Nazareth

An eThekwini ward councillor on Tuesday called for a mass funeral in an area where about 26 people died in the recent floods.

Bongani Ngubane has asked the department of social development to help arrange a mass funeral for the 26 who died in Nazareth, Pinetown.

“We would like to do a mass funeral: have one big funeral with a marquee tent because at this rate, we will end up having protests from the different areas in the ward [from people] who complain that I’m not visible to them,” Ngubane said. 

He said he was yet to consult the affected families on the issue of the mass burial but insisted it was for the best. 

April 26 2022 - 16:49

LISTEN | Funds for flood relief will be audited in real time, Ramaphosa tells parliament

President Cyril Ramaphosa has told parliament there will be measures to strengthen oversight and accountability for funds allocated for flood relief.

April 26 2021

Ramaphosa tells parliament of his shame over SA’s fears relief funds will be looted

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is embarrassed that what is top of mind for South Africans during a time of disaster is that funds meant to help the vulnerable will be stolen.

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