The KwaZulu-Natal government says it will need some R3.3 billion to repair wrecked infrastructure and homes that was caused by the recent storms.
It also wants the national government to declare a the Provincial State of Disaster in areas where storms ravaged settlements and infrastructure.
KZN storms: State of disaster
Declaring a state of disaster will help the provincial government unlock desperately needed funds to repair damages.
The Provincial Disaster Management Centre said there were approximately 205 incidents of strong winds, lightning, structural fires, heavy rains, hailstorms and structural collapse between November and January.
The storms which besieged most parts of KZN recently have left a trail of destruction affecting homes, schools, roads and other critical infrastructure.
“This inclement weather affected 2 068 households and 10 972 people. At least 773 houses were totally destroyed and 2 095 houses were partially destroyed,” said KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala.
“Unfortunately, 25 people lost their lives as a result of lightning and drowning incidents and one person is still missing,” he said.
Race to repair storm damaged schools
The storms ravaged several parts of KZN including uMgungundlovu District (Umgeni, Msunduzi and Mshwathi Municipalities), King Cetshwayo District (uMlalazi, Umthonjaneni, and City of uMhlathuze Municipalities), Ilembe District (Mandeni, Maphumulo and Ndwedwe Municipalities), Umkhanyakude District (Jozini and Mtubatuba Municipalities), and Zululand District (Abaqulusi, Ulundi and Nongoma Municipalities).
A total of 186 schools have been affected. The main concern now is that most schools are due to resume their academic year on Monday 18 January.
“The province is currently working around the clock to ensure that affected schools have adequate accommodation for learning and administrative purposes,” said Zikalala.
The number of roads and bridges damaged will require betterment and re-gravelling, new bridges, causeways, pothole repairs and drainage improvements.
In the meantime, the Provincial Government has appointed the Independent Development Trust (IDT) to conduct urgent repairs to schools and where necessary, supply mobile classrooms as temporary relief.
Farmers bare the brunt of storms
KZN farmers are buckling under the pressure of storm damage that is now affecting food security in the province.
Damage to the agriculture sector included the flooding of grazing camps and structural infrastructure damage.
“This has affected beef production, pig furrowing houses and chicken houses, as well as dip tanks, which is a major setback to the effort of providing food security in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Zikalala.
The Provincial Government has sent condolences to all families who lost their loved ones and also provided psychosocial support services to families affected by disasters in order to address trauma emanating from damages, fatalities and injuries.
Where necessary, food parcels, school uniforms, cooked meals and temporary shelters have also been provided.
The Provincial Department of Human Settlements has started implementing interventions in line with the beneficiary lists for Temporary Residential Accommodation and/or provision of building material to the affected households.