Premier calls for KwaZulu-Natal to be declared a disaster zone

06 February 2020 - 15:44 By ZIMASA MATIWANE
Residents try to salvage their possessions after a tornado struck Mpolweni in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands in November 2019.
Residents try to salvage their possessions after a tornado struck Mpolweni in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands in November 2019.
Image: Orrin Singh

The KwaZulu-Natal government wants the province to be classified as a disaster area.

Premier Sihle Zikalala made the announcement on Thursday at a provincial government cabinet meeting.

The provincial executive council was briefed on the impact of disasters that have ravaged the province and claimed 44 lives since November 2019. More than 30,000 people have been affected by summer storms which have included a tornado, hail, excessive lightning and strong winds.

“The provincial executive council has therefore resolved to initiate a process of classifying and declaring a provincial state of disaster. This will then commence the process to harness more resources even from the national government to rehabilitate and reconstruct the damage that has occurred,” Zikalala said.

The provincial cabinet estimated the cost of the damage to households, schools public infrastructure at about R1.2bn.

Zikalala said the damage is beyond the affordability capacity of the province or any affected municipality.

Meanwhile, the province is bracing itself for more bad weather.

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka said in a statement, that disaster management teams had been placed on high alert after a weather warning from the SA Weather Service, indicating severe thunderstorms with possible heavy downpours, hail and strong winds over the western parts of the province.

“It is predicted that parts of the Zululand, uMzinyathi, Amajuba, Harry Gwala and uMgungundlovu districts will be affected."

Hlomuka has urged residents to take the necessary precautions, as hail poses a serious risk to human life, property and livestock.

“Our disaster management teams are monitoring areas that are prone to such incidents so that they respond faster should the need arise,” said Hlomuka.

Hlomuka has also urged residents to report any incidents to their nearest district disaster management centre or their local councillors.


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