By Penny Fourie.
The South African army has deployed 10 000 troops to assist with disaster management efforts around the flood-stricken province, as residents work together to clear mud and debris from their streets and homes.
Described as one of the worst natural disasters in South Africa’s recorded history, the death toll stands at 443 with 63 people unaccounted for.
But the chances of still finding survivors among the debris of the severe floods are fading fast.
In a statement on Monday, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said the army will provide 4 helicopters and 2 planes to bolster search and rescue operations as well as assist in transporting aid to victims.
Army plumbers and electricians will also help with the restoration of electricity and water, which have been cut off in some areas for almost a week.
The statement added that the SA Army will render support as part of Operation Chariot in erecting field accommodation and providing freshwater with its water purification systems.
“The SA Army pledges include 31 10 000-litre water bunkers, 3 water-provisioning systems, 2 water points with 1-litre bottled water/plastic sachets, a platoon of electricians and plumbers, 60 tents and bedding for the affected communities.”
“The army will also provide logistics in the form of technical expertise to help in disaster management efforts and activities.
This could include construction equipment and artisans.”
The SA Military Health Services will join forces to provide medical support including ambulances, doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and pharmacists as needed.
Briefing the media on Sunday, KZN Premier Sihle said additional SAPS personnel will also be deployed to ensure safety and apprehend and prevent criminal elements that may attempt to use the tragedy to pursue criminal activities.
While the province is still assessing the total damage, Zikalala gave the estimated cost for road infrastructure damage at R5.6 billion.
Multi-Disciplinary Crew Recover body from Umlazi River mouth. Picture: SA Air Force
7000 sandbags were delivered to Air Force Base Durban to help reduce damage brought on by the recent floods. Picture: SA Air force
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