Citizen Reporter
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2 minute read
21 Apr 2022
9:44 am

More than 200 people could still be missing after KZN floods – Gift of the Givers

Citizen Reporter

The NGO says it has been receiving messages from families whose loved ones have been missing.

Flood ravaged KZN. Picture: KZN govt.

Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers believes that over 200 people could still be missing in KwaZulu-Natal following the devastating floods in the province that claimed the lives of more than 440 people.

According to Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, they have been receiving messages from families whose loved ones have been missing or unaccounted for.

The non-governmental organisation has been lending a helping hand in the flood-hit province where so far 448 people have died.

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Sooliman on Wednesday said search and recovery operations in the wake of the deadly floods were being hampered by several factors, including challenges with moving heavy equipment and debris in areas flooded.

“It takes a long time to do the search and the other big challenge is that there is a lot of mud and a lot of rubble. So, everything takes time and even the sniffer dogs get confused with the amount of mud.

“The body smell is very defused and they are not exactly sure where to start, or sometimes they don’t get the smell at all. That has been complicating the matter,” Sooliman told eNCA.

He added: “You also need heavy equipment but the access to move the heavy equipment is another challenge. All of that has delayed the process and no matter how many people you send [for search and recovery efforts]… you need more than 2,000 personnel to do that.”

Tshwane helps flood-hit KZN

Meanwhile, the Tshwane Emergency Services Department search and rescue technicians were deployed to KZN as part of the Urban Search and Rescue South Africa (USAR-SA01) team to support disaster relief measures.

The 23-member team is comprised of swift water rescue technicians, divers and K9 handlers, among others.

Tshwane’s Emergency Services Department has deployed search and rescue technicians to KZN. Picture: Supplied

“The technicians who had been on standby for the deployment, immediately left the Tshwane to join their fellow USAR-SA01 team members from the cities of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, and the Gauteng Emergency Management Services at Northview Fire Station for pre-deployment marshalling,” the City of Tshwane said in a statement on Wednesday.

The deployment is coordinated and funded by the Gauteng provincial disaster management.

 The team was expected to remain in KZN as part of extending a hand of humanitarian assistance to the province.

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

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