Political leaders call for urgent assistance for KZN flood victims

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Political party leaders have called for the fast-tracking of aid to victims of the floods in KwaZulu-Natal as the death toll in the province has risen to 448 after what is being called the worst floods in living memory.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen visited communities in uMdloti, oThongathi and Inanda north of Durban. While Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Velenkosi Hlabisa met with flood victims in Mpumalanga township outside Durban, where several homes were severely damaged by mudslides.

In oThongathi, north of Durban, people are struggling after infrastructure – including the town’s main water treatment plant – was severely damaged.

Trying to dry wet belongings in the yard after their home was flooded, Daisy Puckree, says she and her husband find strength in each other.

Puckree says, “Looking at the dirt, the muck, the floors. Even the kitchen. I don’t even feel like being in there, being a mother, being a wife, being a woman, you know, because there’s so much of, like . . . It’s terrible…”

“But when I look at my husband, he gives me motivation. He loves his food. So he’s standing there, he’s motivating me. You cook this, you cook that. So we are each other’s strength,” added Puckree.

People from the area say they get water from a municipal tanker about once in 3 days. Steenhuisen has called for the delivery of water and road repairs to be fast-tracked.

“But obviously there needs to be an urgent dealing with the water problem because what happens often with disasters like this, you end up with secondary disasters of cholera, dysentery or all sorts of diseases…” Steenhuisen says.

“It’s not technically when people don’t have access to fresh, potable water that they can cook and clean and drink. And this is really a huge, huge worry, worry as well, because you see the tankers going to the elite. you’re going to the premiers, house communities like this ability and she’d been abandoned and this community is not unique. Many across the City have seen absolutely no intervention whatsoever,” adds Steenhuisen.

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‘Extend helping hand’

Hlabisa has called on people of goodwill to extend a helping hand to flood victims.

“Departments that will be responsible for issuing vouchers to our people for ensuring that people are able to get food. Let us fast-track the process of the application. Let us not take too long, but saying so we’re not saying override the system for the sake that you must give what is due to people because, at the end of the day, they will have to account,” says Hlabisa.

While extra tankers have been brought in to supply water to areas of the Durban metro where taps are dry, a Hindu temple in oThongathi has formed a crisis forum to provide meals and water daily.

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