The South African government has availed relief funds to assist communities and families affected by the extreme floods in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
This intervention was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa today while assessing the extent of damage caused by the inclement weather.
Addressing the media in Amanzimtoti, President Ramaphosa expressed sadness at the loss of life and damage to property.
The President saluted emergency services for speedily responding to rescue efforts and saving dozens of lives. He also thanked national and provincial departments, local government and non-governmental organisations for assistance.
“They have provided food, shelter, mattresses and beds and also toilet facilities in the various halls,” he said.
Upon learning of the disaster, the President said he immediately contacted the National Treasury and enquired if there were funds available to assist those who had been affected.
“And they said: ‘Mr President, we do have the money to assist’. So, money will be mobilised to assist our people. These are emergencies that are budgeted for, so resources will be mobilised in the biggest way so that people currently in need are assisted. It will take time but the South African government, by all its levels, will be there to assist our people. This is what we have to do,” he said.
He was confident that the intervention would comfort the devastated people.
“The force of nature is so huge – this is partly what climate change is about. It just hits when you least expect it,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said he would in the next few days also visit parts of the Eastern Cape that were detrimentally affected by the floods.
Police in KwaZulu-Natal said its teams responded to 28 callouts on Tuesday ranging from structural collapses, drowning, mudslides and entrapments where 24 bodies were recovered and 15 people rescued. Search continued for three missing persons.
In Port Shepstone, search and rescue personnel attended to 31 callouts where two bodies were recovered, 43 people rescued and 29 evacuated