JOHANNESBURG, April 15 — The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government in South Africa is continuing with rescue efforts after 306 people were confirmed dead as a result of floods due to heavy rains that hit the province, said the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala on Thursday.
This follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to the affected areas on Wednesday. The government has declared a state of disaster in the province so as to channel the resources fast and rebuild the infrastructure and remedy the situation.
“The Presidential entourage witnessed instances where a number of homes had been washed away, church roofs collapsed on top of children, bridges and roads damaged cutting off entire villages and township sections. Water and electricity supply has also been badly affected in most areas of KwaZulu-Natal and over 200 schools have been damaged in the aftermath of this inclement weather,” said Zikalala.
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs confirmed on Wednesday evening that 306 people died as a result of heavy downpours and flooding across the province.
Zikalala said they are still tracing family members of the deceased so that they could conduct some counseling for them. The government is providing blankets, shelter, food, and other necessities to people affected by the flood.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) CEO Alan Mukoki said many businesses were destroyed and this would threaten jobs and livelihoods. He said the damage to infrastructure and commercial logistics platforms will derail the economic recovery.
“We urge the government to do everything in its powers to assist our businesses to mitigate the risks they are facing. We also wish to encourage our insurance companies to attend to claims expeditiously. We condemn the few who are alleged to be looking for reasons not to pay, instead of doing the right ethical thing by assisting our businesses and communities with their insurance claims,” Mukoki said.
He encouraged the corporate and civil society to donate to and assist those affected by the floods.
The Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Chen Xiaodong sent condolence messages to the victims of the floods. He said the Chinese community will help as they did before.
The death toll is likely to increase as rescue teams continue to search for the missing people.
The South African Weather Service warned earlier this week that localized rainfall, heavy at times, could be expected over KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend. (Xinhua)