Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
22 Apr 2022
10:42 am

KZN Floods: SANDF joins efforts to recover more bodies in ‘Operation Chariot’

Citizen Reporter

Soldiers have been deployed to assist in KZN flood search and rescue operations, nearly two weeks after the deadly storms.

People cross over the washed away bridge along Griffiths Mxenge Highway, 13 April 2022, KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) ‘Operation Chariot’ has widened efforts to Durban suburbs including Umzinyathi, Hammersdale, Reservoir Hills, Hamburg and Henley Dam areas– where more bodies are being recovered.

Its been nearly two weeks since torrential rains left a wake of death and destruction in the province, and officials are still combing several hard-hit areas for flood victims.

On Thursday (21 April 2022) government announced that the flood death toll was revised down to 435, from 448 because some bodies that were recovered were found to have bullet wounds.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said post-mortems had revealed that four people were murdered and nine others died from natural causes in flood-affected areas.

Operation Chariot forms part of the 10 000 troops that were sent to flood-hit areas to supplement the government’s rescue and relief efforts.

“As we speak, the SA Army is assisting the disaster management efforts and activities that include protection, support to mop-up work, extraction, technical assessments, transportation of humanitarian relief equipment and goods,” said Cele.

Soldiers are expected to prioritise restoring the vehicle/pedestrian bridge in Nteke, as well as provide clean drinking water to Pinetown West, uMzimnyathi and Tongaat communities using the military’s water provisioning system, and providing water sachets to affected people.

“A water purification system will be set up along the Inanda Dam to expand the SANDF water provision reach. Eight water tankers will be on standby to supply water North of Durban to Tongaat,” explained Cele.

Two platoons are currently part of the rescue and recovery mission, together with other state agencies involved in this disaster management initiative.

“The Military Police will be escorting convoys delivering humanitarian relief and essential services within the area of operation.

“The SA Air Force is providing air capabilities to assist with search and rescue and the transportation of humanitarian relief equipment and goods.

“The SA Navy divers are also part of the search, rescue and recovery effort,” he said.

The South African Military Health Service was rendering operational health support in the disaster area of KZN, including the provision of ambulances to the SANDF in various positions, as required by the Joint Operation Centre.

Medical officers, nurses, psychologists, social workers and pharmacists had been dispatched to the disaster areas.

Compiled by Narissa Subramoney, additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe

NOW READ: SANDF sends 10,000 soldiers to help in aftermath of KZN floods