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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

iLembe most affected by floods after eThekwini, with latest death toll at 31

Rescue teams have been praised for working around the clock to bring closure to families who lost loved ones.

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As authorities struggle to cope with restoring damaged infrastructure in the iLembe region, KwaDukuza mayor Lindile Nhaca said the massive impact of last week’s floods will have serious long-term strategic and economic implications locally.

“Damage will no doubt run into multi-millions. Preliminary reports confirmed our roads and bridges have been severely damaged, with many collapsing.

“Our storm water systems were inadequate and electrical networks have been compromised,” Nhaca said.

As leaders of national and provincial government flocked to the region to assess the damage, Nhaca gave the assurance that the KwaDukuza municipality had already begun talks with government departments to ensure they come on board to assist with humanitarian aid, including access to medical care, documentation and food security.

iLembe was the most affected district after eThekwini, with the latest death toll at 31.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula arrived on Saturday to inspect the Umhlali bridge on the N2, the Uthongathi River bridge on the M4 and other key roads that were extensively damaged.

Speaking to the media in Shaka’s Head, he promised to return by the end of this week to provide detailed feedback about the plan to repair and open the roads as soon as possible.

On Sunday Nhaca was accompanied by public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on a visit to the Monkey Town informal settlement where severe damage was caused by the floods.

“These visits are a clear indication that government is hard at work to utilise all its available resources to help bring relief in these difficult times,” said Nhaca.

She emphasised that the KwaDukuza executive committee (Exco) last week sent a team of specialist engineers, technicians, building inspectors and human settlements officials to the areas worst hit to attend to emergency issues.

“We are already reopening roads and our civil department teams are on the ground to begin dealing with this challenge. We will issue traffic alerts on our social media platforms to update the community on roads that are still closed.”

Nhaca said the other priority was housing. While the rebuilding process of destroyed houses had already begun in some cases, proper shelter for those displaced had to be provided in the interim.

Most families have been temporarily accommodated in various municipal halls.

In terms of fatalities, the most recent recovery of a body in KwaDukuza was when a South African Defence Force helicopter recovered the body of a nurse in Gledhow last Friday.

She was travelling on the Gledhow Mill road last Tuesday when her car got stuck. When she stepped out of her vehicle she was swept away.

Her body was found but it was not safe for the rescue members to enter the flooded river and the helicopter was called in.

The body of an elderly woman who was swept away in Shakaville was found last Wednesday in a stream behind the iLembe sewer works in KwaDukuza. On the same day, the body of a 29-year-old man was found after he had been swept away in Ntshawini.

Rescue teams have been praised for working around the clock to bring closure to families who lost loved ones.

This article was republished from North Coast Courier with permission

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